Arkansans have a lot on their mind right now. In short notice, life as we know it has flipped.
Schools have closed. Some businesses have had to lay off workers and many others are struggling. First responders and other essential services and supporting services have been working around the clock. There’s panic at the grocery store with consumers worried they won’t have enough food or supplies during a self or mandated quarantine.
It’s important for everyone to know that one thing they truly don’t have to worry about during this coronavirus pandemic is whether they will continue receiving safe water at their tap. There’s no need to stock up on bottled water.
The World Health Organization has reported that COVID-19 has not been found in drinking water supplies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also released a statement assuring Americans that treatment processes prevent waterborne pathogens such as viruses from contaminating drinking water.
Even more, utilities are taking measures to ensure employees are safe and healthy, therefore able to keep treatment plants operating and distribution crews running so that there’s no disruption in water service to homes and businesses.
This is more critical now than ever. Hospitals need water. The food industry needs water. And citizens need water to practice safe hygiene, primarily washing their hands frequently as recommended by the CDC.
Central Arkansas Water (CAW), the state’s largest drinking water supplier serving one in every seven Arkansans, has implemented a Pandemic Response Plan. Our Response Team meets daily to assess the fluid situation and respond appropriately, ensuring that safe, dependable and high-quality water keeps flowing when it’s needed most.
Early on, CAW – and most utilities across the state and nation – suspended water shut offs for nonpayment and restored water service to every residential customer who had previously been cut off. These utilities know that water plays an important role in spreading the curve of this virus’ attack and we take that responsibility seriously.
Plans are in place to protect operators who perform a vital role around the clock keeping treatment plants running. Operators oversee raw water coming into the plant, running it through the treatment process, and then fill water tanks across the cities based on demand to ensure water is available at your tap. CAW is prepared to house operators on site if it comes to that – just as other utilities across the nation in more hard-hit areas have already had to do.
CAW has also ramped up its capability for some staff to work at home. We know, as the Governor has pressed, that the more people stay home and have as little contact with others as possible, the better chance the state has at slowing and decreasing the peak of the coronavirus’ impact on Arkansans.
There’s a lot to worry about right now. CAW and water utilities everywhere are thinking of everyone who has to make tough decisions and who are going through unexpected circumstances. We stand with you and are ready to do whatever it takes to support the community.
One thing is for certain, we’re in this together and we’re stronger together. You can trust that your water will be safe and delivered every day.
Editor’s note: Chelsea Boozer Odle is a media specialist with Central Arkansas Water. The opinions expressed are those of the author.