Valley Sanitary GM: ‘Water Workers Deserve Vaccine Priority’

Members in the News

This is a letter to the editor from CWEA member Beverli Marshall published in The Desert Sun on Feb 5, 2021. View CWEA’s coverage of the California vaccine roll-out for water and wastewater workers.

Beverli A. Marshall

Aside from wearing a mask and social distancing, what’s the single most important action we can take to stay healthy? Washing your hands! Unfortunately, you can’t wash your hands without clean water and you won’t have access to clean water if your water system employees get sick with COVID-19. Once you use the water, where does it go to get disinfected? The wastewater treatment plant — another necessary service provided by dedicated employees who aren’t considered “critical” to maintaining public health by the state.

Based on the California Department of Public Health’s determination, water and wastewater workers come after those who have a high risk of exposure, such as police, fire, education and childcare workers, and food workers. They come after transportation workers, incarcerated criminals, and everyone 65 or older. It could take months before the first water or wastewater worker receives a vaccine.

Until then, your water and wastewater workers are at risk of exposure and the services they provide are, too. Write to the County Supervisors, your senator and congressman, and demand that water and wastewater workers be considered “essential” to the public’s health and moved up to Phase 1B. They are here to keep you safe.

Beverli A. Marshall, General Manager, Valley Sanitary District