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Freshwater Future Weekly: March 27, 2020

Posted on March 27, 2020 by

March 27, 2020

#Turn Water On, #Keep Water On, and #Make Water Affordable + Finding Hope in Tough Times +Flushing Do’s and Don’ts + Federal Agency Waives Some Compliance Requirements Amid Coronavirus Crisis

#Turn Water On, #Keep Water On, and #Make Water Affordable

Here is a brief update on efforts to ensure people have access to water during the coronavirus. (If you use social media, please use the hashtags above to increase awareness.)

Ohio:

On Wednesday, Ohio’s legislature unanimously passed legislation that halts all future water shutoffs and restores residential water services to residents across Ohio as an emergency measure to protect public health during the COVID-19 crisis. 

As a result it:

  • Requires a public water system to restore service to any customer whose service was disconnected as a result of nonpayment of fees and charges;

  • Requires a public water system to waive all fees for connection or re-connection to the public water system; and 

  • Prohibits a public water system from disconnecting customers because of nonpayment of fees and charges.

Freshwater Future will continue to work with our community partners to ensure the water is getting turned on in a timely manner.

Local Spotlight
Junction Coalition is a strong community organization that supports families in Toledo, Ohio fighting against challenges like access to food and water due to levels of poverty. The needs of the community are being magnified during the COVID-19 crisis as unemployment skyrockets. Junction is working to ensure that non-English speaking Toledo residents have access to information and support as well. Working with Freshwater Future they are ensuring that water democracy is continued to secure affordable water rates now, and after this pandemic. 

Michigan:

The coronavirus is hitting hard in the City of Detroit.  Outside of New York and New Orleans, Detroit has the highest per capita infection rate in the country.  With 1 out of 3 residents being impoverished and a high rate of diabetes, Detroiters are more at risk from the virus.  In addition, thousands of Detroit residents still do not have access to running water. The City has put a moratorium on shutoffs and is returning service, but at a slow rate.  

Local Spotlight
Our friends at We the People of Detroit have galvanized volunteers, with proper safety equipment, to utilize their water distribution points and are urging the City for a faster rate of restoration.  Stay tuned, we’ll be sending an opportunity for you to help get water restored for all Michigan residents early next week.

Illinois:

The City of  Chicago has an existing moratorium on water shutoffs and connected with local advocates and environmental organizations to discuss effectively restoring water to all homes. Data issues within the City, such as what homes have been reconnected which have not, are delaying re-connection and local organizations such as Blacks in Green are working to help resolve those issues.

Finding Hope in Tough Times

March 22 was World Water Day, providing an annual platform to elevate how vital water is to our lives. The pandemic has underscored the importance of having water to wash our hands and to drink. Freshwater Future is here working every day to ensure people have access to clean, safe, and affordable water.  We are committed to supporting our community partners efforts to protect public health and safety. Please enjoy this video as we extend the celebration of World Water Day!

#WorldWaterDay

Flushing Do’s and Don’ts

DO FLUSH–If your water service was recently restored FLUSHING is necessary to move out the stagnant water. Here are step by step tips on how to do proper flushing.

DON’T FLUSH–Antibacterial or any kind of “flushable” wipes are NOT good for waste water treatment systems or septic systems. Even if they say they are “flushable” it causes havoc with pipes and water systems. They should be disposed of in trash.

Federal Agency Waives Some Environmental Compliance Requirements  

Cleaner, summer-grade gasoline may be slow to come to the gas pump this year.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) is waiving compliance requirements for some industries due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, the waivers will not increase pollution that impacts public health.  We will keep you posted.

“Freshwater Future believes this action is irresponsible and endangers peoples’ health from toxins at the same time they are worried about and confronted with Covid-19. Congress should exercise its oversight authority with the agency to protect our people, water, air and land.” says Jill Ryan, Director of Freshwater Future. Keep an eye out next week for a related action.

@FreshwaterFutur

© 2020 Freshwater Future. All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.