COVID-19: Safe and reliable service for our customers
March 16, 2020
A letter to Veolia Customers
Our role and responsibility in navigating COVID-19
and ensuring safe and reliable service for our customers
We have been intensely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak over the last few weeks and have been following the guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), as well as those set by our state and local health authorities.
During this time of unprecedented challenges, please know that Veolia is prioritizing three things:
- Protecting the health and well-being of our customers and employees,
- Supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus, and
- Ensuring the provision of essential services for our customers.
During this crisis we are suspending visits by the general public to all Veolia offices, so customers who pay bills in person at our locations must use our website at mywater.veolia.us, pay-by-phone (call 888-608-6690) or at a third-party payment location.
Veolia will also suspend all customer field service appointments, including in-person meter readings and any installation of automatic meter infrastructure, until further notice. Field staff will only perform emergency or critical work.
We will also make sure that no customer is shut off during this crisis, unless there is an emergency. The critical importance of having water available is even more heightened during this crisis as washing hands often is one of the most important things we can all do to ensure health and safety.
Please be assured that our teams are working around the clock to ensure the continuity of service across our operations. We value the trust you instill in us and we take it incredibly seriously. We not only work in these communities, we live here as well.
Thank you for being a loyal customer. You can count on Veolia to continue to inform on a regular basis through this crisis, providing the latest information to you on our social media and our website. We are privileged to serve you and our community.
Veolia North America CEO
We understand that customers may have questions regarding water service, water quality and financial hardships during this time. We’ve developed some common questions and answers to address these topics.
COVID-19 and Water
Is my drinking water safe?
The EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual. Veolia follows federal and state safe drinking water regulations requiring treatment at public water systems that eliminate or kill pathogens, including viruses. According to World Health Organization (WHO) and the EPA, the presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence the risk to water supplies is low.
Can I get the virus from drinking water?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 is mainly thought to spread between people who are in close contact with one another. EPA recommends that citizens continue to use and drink tap water as usual. At this time, there are no indications that COVID-19 is in the drinking water supply or will affect the reliable supply of water. Read more from the CDC about transmission of COVID-19.
The EPA has published its own frequently asked question on its website – which is https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-drinking-water-and-wastewater.
What is Veolia doing to keep my water safe?
Every day, whether there is a health crisis or not, Veolia operations across the nation are committed to keeping your drinking water safe and flowing. The EPA has issued guidance that the COVID-19 virus is eliminated or killed by disinfectants we use as part of our treatment processes. As always, we monitor your water to ensure that it is safe to drink and bathe with.
Do I need to buy bottled water or store drinking water?
EPA recommends that you continue to use and drink tap water as usual. There are no current indications that COVID-19 is in the drinking water supply or will affect the reliable supply of water.
Is tap water safe to use for hand washing?
Yes. EPA recommends we continue to use and drink tap water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can find more recommendations for hand washing on the CDC website at CDC.gov.
Water Service and Continuity of Operations
How will the company help ensure that my water service continues through this crisis?
As a provider of essential services, our goal is to keep the water flowing while protecting our employees and the communities we serve.
If an emergency arises, we have staff available to investigate and address issues. While we are limiting our staff to emergency and critical operations to further protect employees, we will have crews ready to address critical issues, such as water main breaks and other service disruptions.
Our operations will continue to be well-stocked and have access to a steady supply of materials and treatment products needed for operational and service activities.
Veolia employees who remain at our sites are restricted to essential work travel only. The company has taken additional safeguards to help protect their health including the encouragement of social distancing, extra cleaning of facilities and suspension of large group meetings or gatherings.
Veolia employees are always required to use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and additional safety protocols.
In addition to suspending customer visits to Veolia offices and facilities, only deliveries and visits from vendors or partners that are critical to the operations are permitted at this time and will be screened before each entrance.
If there is an emergency service interruption, what do I do?
Veolia has emergency crews ready to address service interruptions, such as water main breaks. If you are experiencing a water service interruption, first check our outage map to see if there is a known problem in your area. Be sure to let us know your exact address, so that our teams have all the information if they need to send an inspector to the surrounding location.
If you have to send an inspector, will they have to come into my home?
No. Our field service inspectors will not need to enter.
How long will the water be unavailable?
Please understand that while our top priority is service restoration, we need to ensure that we work as safely as possible. It is difficult to put a time frame on a water outage, especially since there are several steps involved when we need to dig underground to get to the water mains and make repairs.
How will I get updates on what is going on?
Check mywater.veolia.us and our local social media channels for updates on service outages. You can also call your local customer service team. Please be advised, that call volume may be higher than usual.
Customer Billing and Field Appointments
What if I have a need for a service visit during the virus crisis?
Crews continue to respond to any emergencies in the field or work on the network, as well as conduct mandatory water quality tests. Appointments that would require Veolia staff to be in your home are suspended unless there is an emergency.
What do I do if I ordinarily pay my bill at your office?
Veolia offices are closed to the public during the duration of the crisis. Customers who pay their bills in person at Veolia offices must now pay their bills online, by mail, by phone or at third party payment centers.
Is the company shutting off service during the crisis?
The company will not shut off service to any customers for the duration of this crisis unless there is an emergency. Customers who have recently had their service shutoff will have it restored as long as the crisis continues. Having clean water and washing hands regularly is one of the best known ways to reduce spread of the disease.
I received a shutoff notice because I’m behind on payments. I thought Veolia wasn’t shutting anyone off during the crisis?
We apologize that our automated system still sent you a shutoff notice. We recognize how important it is to have clean, safe water right now. We are not shutting service off and will continue to provide you with water until the crisis is over. Our customer service representatives can assist you if you need to set up a payment plan.
What if I cannot pay my bill right now due to financial hardship caused by the health crisis?
Veolia has committed to customers that no customer’s water service will be shut off during the time of this crisis. We recognize that many people may be experiencing financial hardship. We encourage you to contact us so that we can work with you to facilitate a payment plan.
Will my meter still be read?
We are continuing operations for meter reading, except where employees would have to enter into a home to read a meter. For the safety of the community, we seek to minimize interactions for our employees as much as possible. If we cannot read your meter, we will estimate it until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.