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WEF News provides the articles, videos, and other conent from most of WEF's news sources. The items below represent a wide scope of the regulatory, organizational, membership, current events, and conference happenings at WEF.

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An update and expansion on “The Water Professional’s Guide to COVID-19.”

In an effort to keep the water community informed of coronavirus developments, this update highlights the latest scientific findings, as well as topics not previously addressed. The goal is to contextualize these new results and state the implications and significance from a water and wastewater collection and treatment, public health and water resource recovery facility worker perspective.

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Dave Russell is the CEO of Global Environmental Operations. In this episode Dave explains the concept of a Black Swan, an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. He discusses how Black Swan events could impact the water sector and what hinders anticipation and preparation for such situations. 

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The second installment of the Water Environment Federation's Coronavirus Roundtable Discussions has been published. These discussions with executive leaders from across the water sector examine how this pandemic is affecting operations, business, and people.

The guests for this discussion are Kishia Powell, Commissioner of the City of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management; Paul Vogel, Principal and President of Greeley and Hansen; and Neil McAdam, Senior Vice President at World Water Works.

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The Water Environment Federation has published the first of a series of vidoe roundtable discussions with executive leaders from across the water sector. These discussions will discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting operations, business, and people.

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With the water sector deeply involved in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, WEF administered a second in a series of quick, informal polls concerning the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector. The focus of this poll was to gain some general insights into the effects on the supply chain.

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WEF has made access free to “Biological Hazards at Wastewater Treatment Facilities,” via Access Water. This book chapter is written by water professionals for water professionals to help protect them against workplace exposure to pathogens, including viruses.

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Water professionals on the front lines in the water and wastewater sector, especially those in maintenance and facility operations, may not have the option of working from home during shutdowns like those caused by the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, each member has technically specialized knowledge unique to their community systems.

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With the water sector protecting public health throughout the coronavirus pandemic, WEF administered a quick, informal poll to gain some insights into how this situation is effecting the water workforce. The results below were collected between March 23 and 28.

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On March 27, U.S. EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, issued a letter to State Governors requesting that water and wastewater workers, as well as the manufacturers and suppliers who provide vital services and materials to the water sector, be considered essential workers and businesses by state authorities when enacting restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Ted Corrigan is interim CEO and General Manager and Kyle Danley is Director of Water Production at Des Moines Water Works. In this episode Ted and Kyle explain how the utility responded to coronavirus by activating a long-standing response plan and having essential staff shelter-in-place at its three treatment facilities. They discuss how 20 employees will stay onsite for two week rotations, working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to provide clean water and sanitation for 500,000 people in central Iowa. Ted and Kyle say the staff understand they are serving in a public health role and helping their community, and that support is strong from external staff, the utility’s board, and the union.

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During these challenging times, we want to be clear about what we know about coronavirus and water treatment. The obligations of the drinking water and wastewater treatment sector to the public and our workforce is not put on hold when new contaminants entering our systems come with unknowns. We follow the best science available and make decisions to protect public and occupational health.

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As the world adapts to dealing with coronavirus — social distancing, working from home, and self-quarantining if ill — the perceived hoarding and scarcity of toilet paper has emerged almost as a joke. But, if people start flushing unsuitable materials, the results will be anything but funny.

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WEF is taking steps to help ensure the health and safety of our members, staff, and the community as well as seeking alternate avenues to provide the educational content and expertise you need. Watch video messages from WEF President Jackie Jarrell and WEF Executive Director Walt Marlowe.

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The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China on Dec. 12, 2019. Because this disease already has begun to spread worldwide, it is important that water sector professionals keep informed on the attributions of this virus and any measures needed to protect both workers and public health, in general.

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A study published by the Lancet reported that as of Jan. 2, 2020 the most common symptoms at onset of illness were fever [98%], cough [76%], and myalgia, or fatigue [44%]. Less common symptoms were sputum production [28%], headache [8%], haemoptysis (coughing up blood) [5%], and diarrhea [3%].

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