COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Documents

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:

Daily tasks using social distancing
Protocols and SOP’s for operators
Working alone

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
Thank you for being an “Everyday Hero” 

SOP for PPE for Full Body Protection developed by Strathcona County (click here)

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

Terra Brenneis
Program Manager, Roads  

Public Works

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Catherine Charchun
Town of Canmore

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

Jeannette Austin

Executive Director, APWA AB Chapter

Like I always say “Public Works is the heart of the community." We are part of the essential services finding ways to work through this crisis. Thank you I appreciate everything you are doing.

I will be challenging my community to make posters and put them up in their windows.

Meet SID

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 have questions see the map for your local contact. Alberta Drinking Water Emergency Contacts

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.

If you haven’t seen it yet here is the link to the businesses and services on the essential services list who can continue to provide services at locations accessible to the public. They must have proper risk mitigation measures in place, such as sanitation stations and appropriate distancing between customers.

Remember let us know what is working for you. If you have Instagram check out what Drumheller Valley has done to show how much Drumheller Cares! #DrumhellerValley @DrumhellerValley

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.

1) For Drinking Water: An up-to-date provincial map showing key Compliance, Approvals and Drinking Water Operations Specialist (DWOS) contacts for each area; and
2) COVID-19 Pandemic Panning for the Water and Wastewater Sector: Business Continuity Planning for Water & Wastewater Systems."

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

Update for the EOC
If your situation hasn’t changed, just let me know by saying no change.
1. Current Status of Business Centre Operations
2. Number of staff available
3. Number of staff
4. Number of staff out sick
5. Number of staff on leave
6. Number of staff in self isolation (working)
7. Number of staff in isolation (not working)
8. Needs – Example of
9. Risk Reduction Strategies Implemented
10. Forecast (short term) – Anticipated challenges to operations
11. Forecast (short term) – Anticipated challenges to staffing
12. Forecast (long term)- Anticipated challenges to operations
13. Forecast (long term) Anticipated challenges to staffing
14. Meaningful Work
15. Critical Contracted Services
16. Do any of your staff have special skills related to critical functions outside your business centre?

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.
Take care of yourselves, your families and your communities.

Marty MacGregor
Manager of Fleet and Shop
Public Works Department|City of Camrose
4202 51 Avenue|Camrose, AB
Tel: 780-672-5513 ext.1429|Cell: 780-781-8822|Fax: 780-672-4257|

March 23, 2020 - Update #3

Update #3 – Jeannette Austin, Executive Director APWA AB Chapter 

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.

Generally, management of waste that is suspected or known to contain or be contaminated with COVID-19 does not require special precautions beyond those already used to protect workers from the hazards they encounter during their routine job tasks in solid waste.

OSHA’s guidance on reducing risk to exposure:

  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing by providing workers, customers, and work site visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements in the work environment. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE).

Municipal Waste

  • Workers and employers should manage municipal (e.g., household, business) solid waste with potential or known COVID-19 contamination like any other non-contaminated municipal waste.
  • Use typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE, such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure to the waste streams (or types of wastes), including any contaminants in the materials, they manage. Such measures can help protect workers from sharps and other items that can cause injuries or exposures to infectious materials.


  • As with municipal waste, employers and workers in the recycling industry should continue to use typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE, such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure to recyclable materials they manage, including any contaminants in the materials.

Role-Specific Guidance
Drivers, Helpers, Sorters, and Post-Collection Operators

  • At beginning and end of shift, sanitize commonly touched items in the truck and heavy equipment (i.e. steering wheel, gear shifter, automated joystick, handles, tablets, etc.).
  • Avoid human contact (including customers) during lunch, breaks and routes.
  • Sanitize hands before and after using fueling station.
  • Wipe down fueling station apparatus that you would touch.
  • When working in groups, increase sanitization frequency to three times daily.
  • Properly use all provided PPE (i.e. gloves, eye protection, etc.).
  • Avoid congregation of more than 10 people, including recycling centers.

March 20, 2020 - Update #2

Greg Zirk, P.Eng

Manager of Operations
APWA Director of Outreach
Chairman NAIG
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.


  • Isolate utilities department from all other PW Staff, this includes locker facilities, offices and bathrooms.
  • Cancel all in house appointments for example water meters and sewer augers
  • Cancel all meetings across public works
  • Utilities go to a 1 week on 1 week off rotation
  • Emergency envelop in place for PLAN C (Included in the envelope is alarm codes, an extra set of keys, and an instruction manual with photos so any contractor or other municipality can easily maintain your water system in an emergency)
  • Reach out to your neighbouring municipality and stay in contact once a week.
  • Start recording any illness or possible contamination and self quarantine for 14 days.
  • Have all your departments start at different times
  • Staff room is limited or shut down.
  • Locker Area limited or shut down
  • Anyone with the ability to work at home, should work at home.
  • Isolate the mechanics bay
  • All Public Works staff to be on a 1 week on 1 week off rotation.
  • Utilities down to on call operator only
  • Shut down recycle or transfer centers
  • Only 1 staff member in a truck. No ride sharing
  • Keep 6ft away on the jobsite.
  • Shut down of all public works departments except utilities.

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
  • If you are still in split shifts – is your seasonal staff only working half the amount.
  • Remember if you are still on crews, the goal is complete isolation of the crews, sharing resources from another department, or another seasonal crew could result in cross contamination.
  • If you have already sent out offer letters, check the wording of the offer letter. Does it say 40 hours a week, or up to 40 hours a week.
  • How do you plan to conduct your training and onboarding? If they cannot be in a room together? Will you do first aid training this year? Should you be sending training packages home to the seasonals to read and sign off on before their arrival?
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:
  1. Healthcare
  2. Law enforcement, public safety, first responders
  3. Food and Agriculture
  4. Energy
  5. Water and Wastewater
  • Operation staff at water authorities, water systems, treatment facilities, wastewater facilities.
  • Workers repairing water and wastewater conveyances and performing required sampling and monitoring
  • Operational staff for technical support and SCADA Control systems
  • Chemical disinfectant suppliers for wastewater and personnel protection.
  • Workers that maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting water and wastewater operations.
6. Transportation and logistics
7. Public Works
  • Workers who support the operation, inspection and maintenance of essential dams, locks and levees
  • Workers who support the operation, inspection and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations including bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personal, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities.
  • Support such as road and line clearing, to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications
  • Support to ensure the effective removal, storage and disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste.
8. Communications and information technology
9. Critical manufacturing
10. Hazardous materials
11. Financial services
12. Chemical
13. Defense industrial base

March 19, 2020 - Update #1

Update from the POC:
We are working with Labour to develop PPE protocols for garbage pick-up especially those that are still doing hand pick-ups. We are also continuing to assist in the collection of information in regards to Water/Wastewater operators in the Province.
Great ideas to Keep your Team safe during COVID-19:
Email us at and share your ideas and photos of what is working for you!
Drumheller is using these stickers to indicate that rooms and equipment are Cleaned and Ready for Use.
Win Tun from AEP is working to compile information on current utility operations status in your areas. If you are involved in Water/Wastewater and didn’t receive his email, please respond to the below questions directly to
  1. Availability of operators (certified and non-certified) to operate water and wastewater systems (compared to regular operation condition, i.e., any % of reduction in workforce);
  2. Changed or likely to change operators’ assignment rotations to reduce stress;
  3. Any changes on daily/ weekly operations necessities, such as stopping on scheduled maintenance plans, such as annual flushing, valve exercises, Lead sampling program, etc., and just focusing on daily necessary treatments and monitoring;
  4. Any mutual operations coverage agreements with nearby communities, as well as third party operations groups, such as ATAP, EPCOR operations, etc.; and
  5. Emergency contact operator(s)/ administrations personnel and contact information (cell no., email addresses, etc.).
Win Tun, P.Eng., B.Sc. (Geol.)
Drinking Water Op. Specialist
Environment and Parks
Suite 111, Twin Atria Building
4999 – 98 Avenue, Edmonton AB T6B 2X3
Office: (780) 415-9630, Cell: (780)292-5082
Remember you are the “Everyday Heroes”


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