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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: May 4, 2020
CONTACT: Jim Martin, (603) 271-3710

NH Recognizes Drinking Water Week, May 3 to 9

Concord, NH – New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is celebrating Drinking Water Week, May 3 to 9, by recognizing the essential workers who ensure we have clean drinking water. New Hampshire drinking water operators are working behind the scenes to deliver safe, clean water to your home or business, so that you can wash your hands and help the world slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. Water operators make this possible.

"New Hampshire's public water delivery system is managed by a dedicated workforce whose commitment to safeguarding public health is second to none. We salute you for keeping our communities supplied with clean water, a resource which is even more critical during the pandemic," said Jennifer Palmiotto, Executive Director of Granite State Rural Water Association.

"The water operator workforce is the utility's most valuable asset, delivering clean and reliable water to prevent public health threats," stated Erick Toledo, State Lead from RCAP (Resources for Communities And People) Solutions. During this pandemic they have used their training and knowledge of their water systems and communities to adapt in creative ways. "Drinking water systems have demonstrated innovation and flexibility to maintain uninterrupted, safe water supplies. From splitting work shifts, to changing sampling locations, to following PPE and social distancing guidelines, operators, suppliers, contractors and regulators are working together to keep the clean water flowing," said Boyd Smith, Executive Director of NH Water Works Association. Additionally, operators across New Hampshire are actively sharing resources and the best of what they have learned to support each other.

The 2,500 public water systems (PWSs) in New Hampshire serve approximately 54% of homes, in addition to nearly all schools, places of work and public places such as restaurants. Federal and state regulations require that PWSs remove or kill any contaminants, including viruses. As part of everyday procedures, operators employ a multi-barrier approach to prevent issues from developing and to treat them if they do occur. According to the CDC, "There is no evidence showing anyone has gotten COVID-19 through drinking water, recreational water, or wastewater."

NHDES and its partner organizations – New Hampshire Water Works Association (NHWWA), RCAP Solutions and Granite State Rural Water Association (GSRWA), are working to support water systems and operators. Sarah Pillsbury, Administrator of the NHDES Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau stated that, "In addition to maintaining oversight to ensure water is tested and treated, NHDES is serving as a hub for water systems to get and share reliable, up-to-date information and support." NHWWA, RCAP and GSRWA also provide support to increase water and wastewater systems' technical, managerial and financial capacity and are working with NHDES and system operators to adapt to COVID-related challenges.

Water operators perform a vital service with their work. Clean water empowers us to help ourselves during this pandemic. During Drinking Water Week thank the hardworking individuals who work to ensure clean water is #ThereWhenYouNeedIt.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire