Keeping Your Water Flowing Through COVID-19

Posted Friday, May 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people around the world to make changes in how they live and work. At Skagit PUD, these changes carry the added weight of making sure clean, safe water still flows to 70,000 people in Burlington, Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and surrounding areas of the county.

The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented for all of us at Skagit PUD. Our top priority is to keep employees, contractors and community members safe and healthy, allowing us to continue serving water to our customers.

Skagit PUD has been closely following the situation around COVID-19 for months. The utility on March 18 began having employees work from home, where possible, to reduce potential exposure to essential employees and those whose jobs cannot be done remotely.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s state-wide “stay at home” order took effect on March 23.

Skagit PUD implemented a variety of safety protocols for employees whose jobs cannot be done remotely, including those who work at its water treatment plant and crews who work in the community.

Water treatment and testing

It’s critical that Skagit PUD is able to deliver safe and reliable drinking water in times of emergencies, which includes keeping the utility’s treatment plant up and running.

Skagit PUD has a drinking water treatment plant at Judy Reservoir, near Clear Lake, where water from the Cultus Mountain watershed and the Skagit River is cleaned to drinking water standards.

Treatment plant operators continue to report to these facilities but are minimizing contact with each other and using social distancing guidelines when more than one person is needed for a specific task. Nonessential work has been delayed, and staff members who don’t need to be at the plant are working from home.

The water Skagit PUD sends to customers is safe to drink and there is no threat of COVID-19 in the water system. We follow all drinking water regulations established by state and federal health officials to stop waterborne pathogens like COVID-19 from contaminating drinking water.

Treatment plant staff closely monitor all virus disinfection procedures at the plant and review the results daily. The plant also has online instrumentation that immediately alerts workers to any changes in water quality.

Skagit PUD also has water quality technicians who take 1,000+ samples and conduct over 73,000 water quality tests annually throughout the collection, treatment and distribution system.

Skagit PUD’s leadership team continues to monitor the evolving situation around COVID-19 and will adjust as needed to maintain a reliable and safe drinking water supply.