President’s message about COVID-19

OMWA president, Mike MortimerFirst and foremost, I hope this message finds everyone healthy and spending quality time with loved ones during the uncertain period ahead. In times like this, it is also important to remember those less fortunate to help them out when we can, and when it is safe to do so.

These are some of the most challenging times we have faced collectively as a country, province, and municipality. There is uncertainty over day-to-day life, growing concern for our elderly and medically-vulnerable citizens, and anxiety over our well-being and the economy consume our thoughts. Whether you are a small business owner, a banker, or a restaurateur, there are varying perspectives of what this is doing to everyday life. It is an extremely fluid environment that we are all living and adapting to daily.

Water and wastewater professionals are no different.

The world of water and wastewater is unique in the sense that we are not deemed an essential service but yet we are absolutely necessary to ensure the continued public health of our communities. We are not able to just pack up our belongings and go home; we are not able to leave a water main break or a blocked sewer for the next week; we are not able to ignore a low-chlorine residual alarm or a high-level alarm at a sewage pumping station; we are not able to just stop sampling when our normal testing locations have been closed because of this pandemic.

And we don’t want to go home. Water and wastewater professionals are extremely dedicated individuals, committed to ensuring the provision of safe drinking water and the environmentally-sound conveyance of wastewater. There has been no threat to either during this pandemic, and for that we should be extremely grateful, but this is also different for those of us who do this work day-to-day. The threat is not a low-chlorine residual or a looming summer storm, but a threat we have little to no control over. And the question lingers: What if our workforce is impacted?
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