Updated May 4, 2020
EBMUD providing vital services as Covid-19 pandemic continues
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:
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
EBMUD has reconnected roughly 500 customers who were disconnected due to payment issues. and will not disconnect customers' water service due to payment issues during this health emergency. Having trouble paying your bill? Contact us. EBMUD offers payment plans and a Customer Assistance Program to help customers facing financial hardships. See www.ebmud.com/cap for more information.
Access to trails and recreation areas has changed
Now more than ever EBMUD watershed trails and recreation facilities can provide respite, health, and wellness. We encourage individuals to use our trails and recreation areas safely while we all follow current guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Nearly 90 miles of East Bay watershed trails, as well as Sierra foothills trails, are open. After providing free trail access in April, effective May 1, Trail Use Permits are again required on EBMUD trails.
Due to overcrowding, some recreation and staging areas remain closed.
- East Bay: The Lafayette and San Pablo reservoirs and recreation areas remain closed. However, due to a recent relaxation of county health orders, pedestrian access to the Rim Trail at the Lafayette Recreation Area is now open. The paved Lakeside Trail remains closed.
Additionally, Bear Creek, Briones Overlook, Valle Vista and Chabot staging areas (parking and restrooms) are closed.
- Sierra foothills: Trails in Calaveras County are open to Calaveras County residents only. Open access includes Campo Seco Staging area, Cooks Mesa, Rich Gulch, and Middle Bar trailheads. EBMUD staff is onsite to verify proof of residency and possession of an EBMUD Trail Use Permit.
- Pardee Recreation Area, Camanche North Shore Recreation Area, Camanche South Shore Recreation Area, Camanche Hills Hunting Preserve, and Mokelumne River Day Use Area remain closed.
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.
EBMUD will resume construction projects in mid-May. In accordance with the recent shelter in place order issued by Alameda and Contra Costa counties, EBMUD and its contractors will follow all protective measures to the greatest extent possible. Due to the nature of the work, maintaining six feet of distance isn't always possible and crews may sometimes need to lift facial coverings to be heard clearly over the sound of machinery. Visit ebmud.com/construction to learn more. For updates on specific projects, please contact the project representative listed online or on the project signage.
To ensure the continuity at our water treatment plants, EBMUD is taking the following precautions: geographically isolating operations staff; providing face masks and EBMUD-created hand sanitizer to essential workers, restricting access and increasing cleaning frequency at critical facilities; ensuring a consistent supply chain for chemicals; keeping operators in reserve; and soliciting qualified retirees for added backup.
Restarting water use after business shutdowns
EBMUD’s high-water quality water is constantly testing and treatment. The water we deliver is disinfected, but it’s not sterile. Water is perishable, just like any food or drink. As the coronavirus shelter-in-place restrictions incrementally get relaxed and businesses reopen, managers of large buildings and campuses should take specific steps to ensure water is safe and tastes good.
When a business or facility closes or limits operations, water becomes stagnant in pipes and plumbing systems, and the chlorine gradually dissipates. That can lead to the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, notably Legionella, which can cause serious disease. In addition, the protective film on the inside of the pipes can erode, leading to the dissolution of metal pipes.
Fortunately, this is fixable with proper cleaning and flushing of the entire plumbing system when a building or facility is returned to service after any prolonged closure.
If you own or manage a business or campus that’s been shut down, please see instructions for flushing before you reopen.
For questions about water quality, please call 510-287-1842 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. For more information on the safety of treated wastewater, please see the State Water Resources Control Board Fact Sheet.
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. Over a three-week period ending on April 3, 2020, the wastewater treatment plant processed approximately 2 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.
Distribution of face masks for fellow water and wastewater agencies
To keep essential workers safe, a limited supply of cloth masks are being made available to California water and wastewater agency employees on a first-come, first-served basis. EBMUD is a point of distribution for 75,000 masks for many California agencies. These masks were made available through CalWARN (California Water and Wastewater Response Network) in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), and the American Water Works Association (AWWA).
Together we will work through this and every emergency to bring you safe, clean water.