EBMUD providing vital services as Covid-19 pandemic continues

Update on policies for trail access, staffing protocols, customer shutoffs and Board meeting access

OAKLAND, CA – The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) works around the clock providing clean, safe water for 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and treats wastewater amid the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure EBMUD has a healthy workforce and maintains safety at its facilities, the utility has shifted some operations to adapt to shelter-in-place orders.

“Especially during these unprecedented and fast-changing times, EBMUD remains committed to delivering on our promise of clean water and Bay protection,” says Board President Marguerite Young. “At the same time, we are working to keep our employees healthy and safe so that they can continue supporting our East Bay community and providing vital services in the fight against coronavirus.”

Included below are updates on EBMUD operations:

Your water remains safe
Clean water is fundamental to the fight against the coronavirus. EBMUD water treatment plants are designed to eliminate pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. The coronavirus does not affect EBMUD's drinking water supply. All EBMUD tap water remains safe.

We are providing continuous water service
Because water is essential to stopping the spread of coronavirus, EBMUD has reconnected nearly all water services for customers who were disconnected due to payment issues. In addition, EBMUD will not disconnect customers' water service due to payment issues during this health emergency and is offering payment plan options to customers experiencing financial difficulty. EBMUD offers payment plans and a Customer Assistance Program to help qualified customers facing ongoing economic hardships. See www.ebmud.com/cap for more information.

Access to trails and recreation areas has changed
Nearly 90 miles of East Bay watershed trails, as well as Sierra foothills trails, are open. To support the safe use of open space during this pandemic, on March 19, EBMUD suspended requirements for trail permits until April 30.

Due to overcrowding and concerns for safety of park visitors, the following facilities are closed:

  • East Bay: Lafayette and San Pablo Recreation Areas. Bear Creek, Briones Overlook, Valle Vista and Chabot staging areas (parking and restrooms) are closed.
  • Sierra foothills: Pardee Recreation Area, Camanche North Shore Recreation Area, Camanche South Shore Recreation Area, Camanche Hills Hunting Preserve, Mokelumne River Day Use Area, and Campo Seco Staging Area and connected trail access.

This situation is changing rapidly, so please check www.ebmud.com/recreation for the latest information. See below for more information on the trails:

Critical work continues
Help keep our crews healthy. Our employees are designated disaster service workers who staff our treatment plants, fix main breaks and keep pollution out of San Francisco Bay. If crews are in your neighborhood to repair a critical pipeline, we ask that you maintain proper social distance – at least six feet.

To ensure the continuity at our water treatment plants, EBMUD is taking the following precautions: geographically isolating operations staff; restricting access to the treatment plants; increasing cleaning frequency; ensuring a consistent supply chain for chemicals; keeping operators in reserve; and soliciting qualified retirees for added backup.

Flushing wipes and other paper products damages our system – and yours
Help protect our wastewater workers by not treating your toilet like a trash can. If you are out of toilet paper and switch to paper towels, tissues or wipes, do not flush them. Even "flushable" wipes do not break down like toilet paper, and instead can clump and create hazards for customers’ private sewer pipes, EBMUD’s wastewater system and system operators who work to keep pollutants out of San Francisco Bay. Throw wipes and other paper products in the trash and flush only the three Ps: pee, poo and paper. Now is not the time for a sewer backup in your home.

Wastewater treatment protects public health
EBMUD’s wastewater treatment plant staff continue to work around-the-clock to treat wastewater for our 685,000 customers. The wastewater treatment process is effective at removing pathogens, including coronavirus, and protects public health and water quality in San Francisco Bay. On Tuesday, March 10, EBMUD began receiving wastewater discharges from the Grand Princess cruise ship, which had docked in Oakland on March 9 after several passengers were diagnosed with COVID-19. To date, the wastewater treatment plant has processed 1.7 million gallons of wastewater from the ship. By treating discharges at the plant, EBMUD has helped protect public health and the environment.

Board of Directors meetings continue
EBMUD began offering live streaming of Board of Director meetings on March 24. EBMUD will continue this practice, as well as providing audio and video of past meetings. Visit www.ebmud.com/board-meetings.

Keep emergency water supplies on hand
Emergency repairs and mission-critical construction may result in water service interruptions. EBMUD reminds everyone in our service area that it’s important to keep spare water supplies on hand (one to two gallons per person per day) in case of a temporary water outage or larger emergency.

Together we will work through this and every emergency to bring you safe, clean water.