AWWA applauds EPA call for water professionals to be considered ‘essential workers’

Share Article

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) today applauded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency letter to governors urging them to ensure that water professionals are considered “essential workers” during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Water professionals are doing heroic work to keep water flowing and that assure that citizens stay hydrated, wash their hands and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” AWWA CEO David LaFrance said.

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) today applauded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency letter to governors urging them to ensure that water professionals are considered “essential workers” during the COVID-19 crisis.

EPA transmitted the letter Friday following two days of teleconferences with water sector organizations, including AWWA. Signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the letter asked governors to ensure water professionals “receive the access, credentials, and essential status necessary to sustain our nation’s critical infrastructure.” It noted that both water and wastewater workers, as well as manufacturers and suppliers, are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

In a letter to AWWA members published the same day, AWWA President Jim Williams praised water workers for their commitment to public health protection and willingness to do what’s necessary to keep water service running. He noted that regular hand-washing – critical to stopping the spread of coronavirus – would be impossible without access to safe water.

“Rarely seen but always on the job, you are a quiet army protecting our communities in ways they do not fully understand,” Williams wrote. “Whether you are a distribution operator repairing a broken water main in frigid temperatures, or a chemist assuring the community water supply is safe to drink, or a wastewater worker freeing a clogged sewer system, or a customer service representative helping a concerned citizen with a difficult question, or a technology provider developing solutions that make our magnificent water systems even better – you are all essential in keeping our communities safe and healthy.”

“Water professionals are doing heroic work to keep water flowing and that assure that citizens stay hydrated, wash their hands and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” AWWA CEO David LaFrance said. “[AWWA] preliminary research shows that nearly half of water utilities either already have plans to assure essential workers can live on-site at their jobs or are considering developing those plans. Water workers are literally saving lives, and we owe them our gratitude and support.”

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 51,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

AWWA Public Affairs
Visit website