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COVID-19, Drinking Water and Wastewater: Health and Safety References
Keep Informed,

NRWA - Special Report


Coronavirus Update
(Added 4/2/2020)

As we endure another week of the coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to recognize and thank each of the men and women working every day to ensure our water continues to flow and waste treatment systems continue to operate, while protecting our source waters and the environment. These services are essential to maintain public health, essential to protect the environment and essential to mitigate and eliminate the threat of this virus on our American communities and families. For all these reasons, each individual operating and working in these systems is considered essential to carry out these critical services during this emergency. 

Systems of all sizes have taken necessary steps to ensure continuity of service and to protect the industry workforce. State Rural Water Associations have developed a listing of 2,786 retired or otherwise qualified operations specialists to support systems if critical, local utility staff are unable to perform their duties due to the virus. State and federal agencies continue to adjust as the pandemic evolves including extending operator certification deadlines and allowing flexibilities in the regulatory area.   

At this point, the financial impact of this virus is resonating throughout the industry across rural America. NRWA anticipates congressional actions in the near future that could include infrastructure funding, and your association will advocate for provisions that will address rural utilities that have been financially impacted from this pandemic. We have heard your voices and concerns and are responding accordingly. 

Utilities should continue to monitor and update the financial impact on their historic revenue streams as the consequences of this virus continue to evolve. The impact is compounded by several moving factors including businesses that have closed or temporarily shut down; the downturn in the economy; resulting in increased unemployment and lower return on investments. As a result, systems will likely see more late or non-payment for residential services soon. As systems assess this financial impact, if necessary, they should start discussions with their State Rural Development office and other lending institutions regarding what assistance or servicing actions are available to them at this time. Your State Rural Water Association has the resources and expertise to assist in this effort. This assistance can be rendered remotely, maintaining the recommended social distancing guidelines.

Overcoming these challenges in the months ahead will require a common goal of ensuring the continuation of these essential services to the public. It will require patience, perseverance and understanding by all. Your State Rural Water Association has the staff expertise and experience to assist your system and jointly take on these challenges. 

This long- term trusted partnership with each of you, including our federal, state and local leaders, will ensure that rural America will get through this crisis together. As our nation continues to deal with the pandemic, we thank each and every individual as you continue to take all the precautions you can to maintain social distancing, disinfect surfaces, wash your hands, resist touching your face, all things necessary to stay healthy and lessen the spread of this dreadful outbreak.  

Thank you for dedication and service.

Sam Wade
CEO, National Rural Water Association


The Iowa Rural Water Association, dedicated to enhancing Iowa's water and wastewater industries by offering professional training, education and technical assistance.

IRWA was formed in the early 1970's for the purpose of providing the most up-to-date, professional and effective training and technical assistance to Iowa's water systems and wastewater facilities. An elected, volunteer Board of Directors consisting of professionals in the water supply and waste disposal industries governs IRWA.

The Association remains firmly committed to the advancement of Iowa's water and wastewater industries. In the effort to ensure strong, viable, water and wastewater industries in the state, IRWA offers a wide variety of programs including training, education and technical assistance.

The Iowa Rural Water Association is a progressive organization dedicated to enhancing Iowa's water and wastewater industries by offering professional training, education and technical assistance. As a member-driven organization, IRWA is financially supported through its membership dues and grant programs. Membership is open to all organizations and individuals associated with our industries.



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