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Government Policies

Defining Essential Employees

EPA Confirms that Water and Wastewater Workers and Suppliers are Essential Employees

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently sent a letter to all US governors urging them to “ensure that drinking water and wastewater employees are considered essential workers by state authorities when enacting restrictions such as shelter in place orders to curb the spread of Covid-19.”

Administrator Wheeler’s letter also referenced the March 20, 2020 document issued by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency titled Guidance on the Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in Covid-19 Response. Wheeler stated, “The DHS guidance specifically recognized water and wastewater workers and suppliers to the water sector (e.g., chemical manufacturers and delivery services) as essential critical infrastructure workers.”

Wheeler’s letter reaffirms NOWRA’s statement that wastewater professionals in our industry are essential to maintaining this vital area of critical infrastructure. If you live in a state which has imposed shelter-in-place rules or closing of non-essential businesses, you need to continue your business operations as essential critical infrastructure workers.

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