Ohio EPA information on COVID-19 and public water systems


The Ohio EPA Division of Drinking and Groundwaters posted several recent updates to its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response, Questions, and Guidance website to inform that it is actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Ohio and its impact on public water systems and is providing guidance accordingly. Ohio EPA specifically highlights its expectation that the operation of public water systems by trained operators to ensure Ohioans are provided with safe drinking water is a critical public health-related responsibility and that certified operators are public health officials and should be performing their civic duty to protect public health and safety during this declared emergency. 

Ohio EPA states that it is not considering approval for reducing minimum staffing requirements at public water systems at this time. Ohio EPA offers several specific recommendations for certified operators and public water systems to implement in light of Governor DeWine’s recent orders, including:

  • Have backup staff identified in the event personnel become sick.
  • Perform solo visits. Practice social distancing.
  • Stagger visits. Visit systems in times when other individuals are not present (outside normal working hours for non-community systems).
  • Have contingencies in place (appropriately certified professional backups, certified professional operators, personnel knowledgeable of the system).
  • Disinfect common surfaces before and after shift changes.

Ohio EPA notes that conditions may change as this situation evolves and that it will continue to monitor the situation and adjust its response and direction accordingly.

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