Hampton Roads is served by Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) and more than a dozen utility departments that work to deliver safe drinking water to our residences and businesses and manage the flow and treatment of our wastewater. It is an integrated system that seamlessly provides these vital services to the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their staff is essential to keep the treatment plants operating and to continue maintenance and repairs on the extensive network of pipes and pump stations that deliver water to our homes and take sewage away.
This is a challenging time to provide these critical community services. Nationwide, utilities have been faced with supply shortages and the need to maintain a healthy workforce. Thankfully, in Hampton Roads, our directors of utilities have been coordinating and tackling COVID-19 challenges together for over a month. The regional Directors of Utilities Committee is a tight-knit group that offers suggestions to help each other solve problems anywhere in the region. So far, the group has worked through best practices for protecting staff and minimizing exposure with alternate schedules, found suppliers for hand sanitizer and masks, coordinated with the health department on emerging policies and finding labs. The group also checks in weekly to assess the number of new cases of COVID-19 in utility departments so they could coordinate assistance if needed. In this time of great uncertainty, the support and cooperation occurring throughout the region makes us a stronger and more resilient community.