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News & Press: General Announcement

MRWA Statement on COVID-19 Virus

Thursday, March 12, 2020  
Posted by: Alex Wong
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We recognize that Maine Rural Water Association plays an essential role in providing information to the water and wastewater community.  We are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and will provide updates to this notice as necessary. 

Steps for you and your staff:

  • Practice good hand hygiene, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face.
  • Review workflow, sick policy and supply chain for possible impacts to services.

Information for your customers:

The World Health Organization has published a Technical Brief[1] which is highlighted here:

  • The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies, and based on laboratory studies, the risk to water supplies is low.
  • However, there is no evidence that coronaviruses are present in surface water or groundwater sources or transmitted through contaminated drinking water
  • This family of viruses are not stable in the environment and are susceptible to disinfection through oxidation, like chlorine. 
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 has been transmitted through sewers with or without wastewater treatment
  • Current wastewater treatment techniques will inactivate coronaviruses.
  • Best practices for protecting wastewater treatment workers health, such as the use of PPE and frequent handwashing should be practiced.

Effects on MRWA training, and events:

As of 1pm, Thursday March 12, 2020, Gov. Janet Mills confirmed Maine's first positive case of COVID-19.  The Maine CDC is recommending that all large non-essential gatherings (over 250 people) be postponed for at least 30 days. 

To that end, we have cancelled the Management and Administrative Summit scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th.  All other classes and events are still scheduled as of now.  We realize that this is a fluid situation and appreciate your understanding.

MRWA will always treat the health and safety of our attendees and participants as our number one priority.  We are closely monitoring the situation and will maintain regular contact with State and/or local officials including the Maine CDC.  We will take all reasonable precautions necessary to prevent the spread of disease including:

  • Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces throughout the venue we are using.
  • Having hand sanitizer available and encouraging its use.
  • Encouraging a “no handshake” policy at the event.

In addition, we request you to stay home if you are sick or demonstrate health symptoms that could impact others, or believe you have or may have been exposed to the COVID-19 or other virus.

For more information from trusted sources:

Maine CDC  https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

US CDC  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html

World Health Organization https://www.who.int/publications-detail/water-sanitation-hygiene-and-waste-management-for-covid-19

CISA https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/pandemic_flu.html

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Water Environment Federation https://www.wef.org/news-hub/wef-news/the-water-professionals-guide-to-the-2019-novel-coronavirus/

National Rural Water Association https://nrwa.org/2020/03/nrwa-statement-on-the-covid-19-virus/

AWWA  https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resource-Topics/Coronavirus


[1] Water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management for the COVID-19 virus: Technical Brief. (3 March 2020).  World Health Organization.  WHO reference number WHO/2019-NcOV/IPC_WAH/2020.1