CalWARN Distributing Free Cloth Facemasks to Water, Wastewater Utilities


Photo by City of San Jose Environment

Please note: Orders must be placed by a water or wastewater system. If you are not the correct contact, please share with the correct individual. Identification will be required at pick-up.

Here is an announcement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Water-Wastewater Agency Response Network (CalWARN). Our friends at the California-Nevada American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) asked that we share the info with wastewater professionals.

FEMA, through a joint effort with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the National Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN), and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) are providing a limited supply of cloth facemasks to the California water and wastewater agencies. These cloth facemasks are being received by CalWARN. CalWARN is working to distribute the cloth facemasks with the assistance of CA-NV AWWA and the SWRCB-Division of Drinking Water (DDW). Although the distribution is being handled by CalWARN, you do not need to be a CalWARN member to request and pick up the cloth facemasks.

CalWARN is establishing Commodity Points of Distribution (CPODs) throughout the state to distribute the cloth facemasks. CPODs are locations where the bulk cloth facemasks can be sent for subsequent scheduled pick-up by water and wastewater agencies. To meet this challenge CalWARN has established a CPOD webpage to allow all water and wastewater utilities to place their order for the cloth facemasks.

About the cloth facemasks:

  • Are reusable and washable
  • Single size (one size fits all)
  • Fabric touching skin is 100% cotton
  • NOT for use with chemicals or in hazardous environments where N95 or other respirators are required

To request these cloth facemasks through CalWARN, please follow the detailed instructions found on the CalWARN webpage –

Some key points of the CPOD program are:

Cloth masks are being made available to all water and wastewater agency employees in California on a first come – first served basis.
Go online to the link where the instructions, CPOD forms and processes are located.

Provide basic information about you and your water or wastewater agency on the form. This is to verify that you are a California water or wastewater agency.
Identify the number of cloth facemask requested – current limit of two cloth facemasks per employee.

Based on your county, select the CalWARN Region CPOD registry.

Once approved, the CalWARN Region Chair or designee will send you an email to confirm the amount and provide a link that you will use to choose the location to pick-up your items. The appointment system will provide the date and time slots that are available at that location to ensure the proper social distancing.

To ensure mutual health and safety protection (practice good hygiene procedures, maintain the minimum 6 feet physical distancing, and wear facemask), bring a distance readable identification to show to the CPOD personnel, facilitate the process, and minimize the need to have any contact.

Once completed, please transmit a confirmation email to the CalWARN Region Chair that your transaction has been completed.

This is an unprecedented situation in our state and the efforts by the water sector are essential and critical. Flexibility is key. This CPOD process has not been done before at this scale in the water and wastewater agency sector and efforts are being aimed to make this as smooth as possible for you and volunteer agencies and staff.