CASA Members and Partners,
With so much happening right now related to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID -19) pandemic, I thought an update would be beneficial for CASA’s members and partners. I hope you have had an opportunity to take a look at CASA’s dedicated
COVID -19 webpage
. This site contains an array of resources for agencies, including the latest research, upcoming and recorded webinars, state and federal actions, and templates from CASA agencies on everything from pandemic emergency plans to remote work guidelines. The webpage is updated regularly, so check back often.
To highlight a few of the more significant recent developments:
As the contours of this crisis continue to take shape, the challenges for wastewater agencies are also shifting and adapting. The first wave of issues focused on the impacts of wipes to our systems. Amid toilet paper shortages and increased use of disinfecting wipes products, CASA and its members worked to send a strong and consistent message that toilets are not trash cans. The
on this issue was broad and sweeping, and even the State Water Board got
The second wave focused on reassuring the public of the safety and efficacy of the wastewater treatment process, and clear messaging that existing treatment processes
effectively disinfect wastewater containing the COVID-19 virus. CASA engaged research experts and worked with association partners to share this message through webinars and other forums.
The most active front as of late has been a focus on the use of Wastewater Based Epidemiology (WBE), which essentially utilizes influent testing of wastewater as a viable, cost-effective alternative metric to track and control the COVID-19 pandemic in California. Testing influent wastewater for COVID-19 can reveal important community trends, and several agencies are already working on collecting samples and having them analyzed at outside research institutions. Our agencies have been on the front lines of protecting public health and the environment throughout this crisis. However, WBE gives the wastewater community a chance to be proactive about data gathering in a unique way that can benefit health officials and the state in determining appropriate responses and resource allocations for continuing to fight the virus. We look forward to sharing more about this with you in the coming weeks.
There will be many more issues to tackle moving forward. We continue to investigate the revenue impacts of this crisis on wastewater agencies, how staffing approaches are changing to address and prepare for future outbreaks, and what it will mean to gather, share information and network in an almost exclusively virtual arena in the near future. On that front, keep an eye out for an update on the status of CASA’s Annual Conference later this month.
I am proud of how we have responded as an association and as a community. Keep up the good work and know that if you have questions or need anything, we are here for you.