April 20, 2020
Alberta has recognized that provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services is an essential service. Drinking water and municipal wastewater operational staff are integral in the delivery of these services to Alberta Communities. Effective April 9th they are considered “essential workers” by the GOA and AEP. The following are links that provide further details on the benefits of this designation.
In order to simplify access to information, all the information related to the COVID-19 pandemic planning for the water and wastewater sector can be found here.
April 13, 2020
Would you be willing to help out your fellow members?
Share your COVID-19 Pandemic documents to help out others. We will post on the COVID-19 page of our website. We have municipalities specifically looking for the following types of documents related to COVID-19 or Pandemic response in general:
Highlights from Update #3 from AEP which was sent Thursday April 9, 2020. Here is the list of FAQ’s released. Remember it is imperative that you contact and inform your AEP DW staff listed on the DW Contact map (click here) before certified operator staffing or treatment chemical supplies become an EPEA compliance issue (if possible) If it is outside of normal business hours (8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday) please call the 24-hr response Line: 1.800.222.6514 or local line: 1.780.422.4505 if you need to contact AEP staff regarding reportable requirements under your approval or registration or for any question or concerns you might have.
Thank you for all you are doing to keep our communities going! Remember you are Everyday heroes!
April 6, 2020 - Update # 8
Enhance protection of Utilities workers responding to a work site a potential/ or confirmed hazardous environment. These hazards can be mitigated through use of additional PPE and proper hygiene. This procedure primarily details the use of Tyvek coverall suits paired with hand and face protection with intent of protection the entire worker body.
If you have questions see the map for your local contact. Alberta Drinking Water Emergency Contacts (click here)
If you can’t meet the requirements of your approval due to staffing, testing requirements or any other issues please call 1-800-222-6514 or 1-780-422-4505. AEP will be there to assist you and to find solutions.
April 1, 2020 - Update #7
Here are some great ideas coming in
Program Manager, Roads
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Thank You Public Works! This gives kids something to do and acts as a thank you and encouragement to all the Public Works employees out doing their jobs! Residents have been asked to make posters and take a photo and send it
Executive Director, APWA AB Chapter
I will be challenging my community to make posters and put them up in their windows.
The Town of High River staff are having some fun with SID (Social Isolation Distraction) to connect Operations with Co-workers while they are isolated. Allison Barr says “It’s been fun. Other staff are now taking SID on adventures to show what they are doing”. Watch a movie here.
March 30, 2020 - Update #6
Update from AEP – They will be reaching out to check in with water and wastewater operators/facilities.
If you can’t meet the requirements of your approval due to staffing, testing requirements or any other issues please call 1-800-222-6514 as well as 1-780-422-4505. AEP will be there to assist you and to find solutions.
We are continuing to build our information base to allow us to react not only to COVID 19 issues as they arise but the upcoming spring run-off and fire season. If you haven’t already done so please complete the inventory list..
March 26, 2020 - Update #5
Alberta Environment & Parks has provided guidance materials to “further support municipal utility operations of drinking water and wastewater systems during this pandemic response phase” See our website for links to this information.
We are looking to share some good news stories – send us your photos and stories, or news about what’s working for you in your municipality.
The Town of Drumheller helped their community by building these social distancing plexiglass for front counters for local businesses.
Remember if you haven’t yet sent us your inventory list we would still like to get this information from you.
March 24, 2020 - Update #4
We are working with AEP staff and AWWOA as part of a task force team to develop a tracking form to help monitor the Provincial Status of operators, healthy, modifying work hours, # of operators self isolating, # out due to illness/COVID 19.
We originally sent out our request to complete our inventory spreadsheet in part for the spring thaw issues, with the potential for flooding. This is still a real possibility in the middle of this pandemic. We just got 2 more inches of snow where I live and more to come today. So please if you haven’t already sent it in – we would greatly appreciate receiving the information from you. Click here for the Spreadsheet
- Jeannette Austin, Executive Director APWA AB Chapter
Many municipalities with sufficient vehicles are assigning one vehicle or piece of equipment for the day. Operators are to disinfect their assigned vehicle/equipment prior to commencing their daily task and prior to the end of their shift.
Shared from the Town of Okotoks
Here is a list of questions that one person is using to track each Business Centre Operations for the Town of Okotoks to report to their EOC every morning
From the City of Camrose
The City of Camrose has declared a “State of Local Emergency”. The Public Works Department here is looking at splitting our work groups into 2 shifts to reduce the number of people in contact with each other every day. For now, our Roads and Utilities Departments have staggered start times and break times to reduce exposure. We are topping up our Bulk Fuel Tanks weekly. Our PW Shop is concentrating on keeping Police, Fire and Ambulance operating. We have stockpiled some spare parts and filters.
Thank you all.
March 23, 2020 - Update #3
Update #3 – Jeannette Austin, Executive Director APWA AB Chapter email@example.com
Good morning! You truly are the “Every Day Heroes” whether you are ensuring the delivery of essential services like water and wastewater, solid waste management or any other municipal services. Thank you for all of the sacrifices you and your families are making. We are here to support you – let us know if there is information or resources you need and we will do our best to help. Please keep encouraging and supporting each other through this.
Below is some information from the National Waste & Recycling Association on reducing risks for those working with municipal waste and recycling.
March 20, 2020 - Update #2
Greg Zirk, P.Eng
Manager of Operations
APWA Director of Outreach
B.Eng Civil, EDDT, APEGA, ASET,ITE,ICOLD,APWA,AWWOA
Town of Stony Plain
Well it has certainly been a very busy week in operations. On March 17, the GOA declared a public health emergency and we are now into social distancing procedures. Alberta is currently at 146 cases and our first loss of life.
Below is a sample of what your Emergency Procedures could be. This list is intended to set target levels of public works isolation procedures and you can see if you are above or below the suggested levels. Your municipality may not be large enough to adopt all of the procedures but there are still some great ideas you can adopt.
EMERGENCY LEVEL A
EMERGENCY LEVEL B
EMERGENCY LEVEL C
Luckily at this time of year, we are between the seasons of snow removal and grass cutting. Going to half crews will slow down production, but of all the times of year, now is probably the best. Potholes, street sweeping, tree pruning, CB thawing can all go ahead at a slower pace with minimal disruption. The challenge for operations will be in May. Half crews will result in service level disruptions. Review your service levels and see what areas you might be willing to sacrifice.
Next week you might want to start looking at some key areas in your organization. Start talking with your contractors, staff and leadership teams about the following
1. SEASONAL STAFF – Many organizations are planning a reduction in seasonal work. You should be thinking about the following
2. SOLID WASTE – At POC (Provincial Operations Center) there is a lot of discussion about shutting down solid waste services. Make sure you have a communications plan if you are going this route. Most solid waste contractors seem to be operating as normal but this could change quickly. We expect more information on PPE next week from the POC
3. EQUIPMENT – Put the time into disinfecting equipment. At the end of the week all crews should spend a significant amount of time cleaning anything they have touched.
4. PLAYGROUNDS – How are you ensuring these structures are cleaned. Are they a contamination area that should be shut down.
5. DOG PARKS – How are you cleaning the park? Is there a gate that you have to open and close to get in? What about benches? What happens when a resident touches another residents pet?
I was sent a good article from our APWA POC representative this week. It is called the Memorandum on identification of essential critical infrastructure workers during COVID-19. It is published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
It reviews Essential critical infrastructure workforce. The categories looked at include:
6. Transportation and logistics
7. Public Works
8. Communications and information technology
9. Critical manufacturing
10. Hazardous materials
11. Financial services
13. Defense industrial base
March 19, 2020 - Update #1