(L to R) Vallecitos Water District employees at the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility: Ivan Murguia, Arturo Sanchez, Dawn McDougle, Chris Deering, Marc Smith, and Matt Wiese. Photo: Vallecitos Water District employees

Customer Thanks Vallecitos Water District Employees for Their Efforts

Most Americans take a safe and reliable water supply for granted. Dedicated water and wastewater professionals, including Vallecitos Water District employees, work to provide a secure, plentiful supply of drinking water.

Vallecitos Water District customer Manisha Bambhania has a deeper appreciation. A native of India, Bambhania grew up in a home where running water was only available three hours per day, and sometimes much less.

Bambhania frequently posted favorable comments on Vallecitos Water District Facebook posts. “She would commonly write words like, ‘We all need to conserve, regardless of the drought,’ or ‘Thank you for all you do. We are so grateful for the services you are providing,’” said Public Information Representative Lisa Urabe.

“After more than a year of continued praise from Manisha, the public information staff reached out to her to thank her in person for her comments,” said Urabe. “We met at her house where she proceeded to tell us her story of growing up in India. Even though she lived in an upper middle-class neighborhood, water scarcity and lack of reliable water and wastewater infrastructure was a very real part of daily living.”

Vallecitos staff created a video to share Bambhania’s story about the work of Vallecitos Water District employees.

Vallecitos Water District employees ‘inspired’

Vallecitos employees viewed the video at a recent all-staff meeting. One of those employees is Dennis Richardson, who has worked for the agency the past 13 years.

“I thought it was incredible for a customer to actually thank the employees for the jobs that they do, and also to give us her past life experience of living in India and the importance of the water to the community,” said Richardson. “I was really inspired by her video.”

Other staff were also pleased at the positive remarks for their work.

“We all enjoy our jobs, and take great pride in what we do in serving the public,” said Shawn Askine, a water systems supervisor. “We’re happy citizens recognize the hard work we do providing clean reliable water to your tap everyday.”

The original video featuring Manisha Bambhania has also won statewide recognition from the California Water Environment Association Film Festival.

Vallecitos Water District waterwater technicians Chris Deering and Matt Wiess at the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility. Photo: Vallecitos Water District employees

Vallecitos Water District wastewater technicians Chris Deering and Matt Wiess at the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Utilities Aim to Keep Specially Trained Employees Healthy and Working

Some municipal water utilities are taking emergency measures to sequester some employees to assure that they can keep the water flowing as the coronavirus spreads.

In this country, millions of Americans can follow advice to stay at home so long as the electricity stays on and the water and the phone service. Utility workers need to keep moving about. And to stay on the job, they also need to stay safe. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports that some utilities are taking extraordinary measures, including locking in employees at work.

MASTERS: After two weeks, a new group of workers with the same set of skills, who are currently sitting at home, will switch with the current onsite crew. Something similar is happening at a desalination plant in Carlsbad, California, that produces 50 million gallons of water a day. Ten workers are living there for three weeks. Sandy Kerl is general manager for the San Diego County Water Authority.

SANDY KERL: “These are critical services, highly trained individuals, not easily replaceable, so they have to be protected to ensure that water continues to flow.”

Select Download File to hear the 3-minute story as featured on National Public Radio.


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Opinion: Your Tap is the Safest Source of Water During this Pandemic

As we Americans face these unprecedented times, many are rushing to the store to stock up on bottled water and other supplies. At Helix Water District, we want to remind you that your tap water is still safe and reliable.

While it’s always advisable to have a reasonable amount of emergency water on hand, the coronavirus outbreak is not a situation that will require a stockpile of bottled water. You will still have access to safe, clean water from your tap, as always.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through tap water. The illness primarily transfers from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Tap water is safe, reliable

At Helix Water District, we work diligently 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure your tap water is safe to drink, meeting all state and federal quality regulations. We collect and analyze 200 water samples a day to ensure our treatment process is effective. Our water treatment process includes disinfecting the water with ozone to chemically deactivate and physically remove viruses, bacteria and other organisms.

We also work around the clock to ensure water reaches your home. Such an operation requires an immense system and continuous upkeep. That is why the district prioritizes preventive maintenance and scheduled improvements. It is also the reason that when you turn on a faucet — day or night — you don’t have to worry about whether the water will be there.

Some customers don’t realize that because Helix Water District is a public agency, it cannot make a profit. Beyond that, all Helix staff undergo thorough emergency preparedness training. We’re ready to support our community through any crisis, whether it’s a global pandemic or wildfire. We are here for you.

Even now Helix Water District employees are treating, monitoring and delivering your tap water, making sure you have water when and how you need it. We will do so throughout the duration of this emergency and beyond when things return to normal.

Helix will continue to monitor the evolving public health emergency, just as we’re sure you are, and we will update our website and social media with important information about your water delivery. In an abundance of caution, we are closed to the public and we recommend paying online or over the phone at 855-276-8053. We may have closed our lobbies, but not our operations.

At Helix Water District, we have always been committed to operational excellence and maximum efficiency. We want to make sure our customers have the safe, reliable water they need, whenever they need it, and we will do whatever we can to make that happen.

Regional Water Agencies Continue to Provide Safe, Quality Water

Amid the growing concerns over COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus), water providers in the San Bernardino basin continue to provide safe, quality drinking water to residents and businesses without interruption. San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, San Bernardino Municipal Water Department and East Valley Water District confirm safe water supply during this period of concern surrounding the coronavirus.