As we wind our way through the new reality that the coronavirus pandemic has created, some community members have expressed concern about the safety of the water in San Lorenzo Valley. Well, fear not: SLVWD's Environmental Planner Carly Blanchard and District Manager Rick Rogers are there to keep you safe and hydrated. Read on, fellow aqua lovers.

Press Banner: It seems that some people are concerned about the valley’s water quality being affected by COVID-19. What is the source of water for the valley?

Blanchard & Rogers: Sources of supply for the SLVWD include both groundwater and surface water sources. The District ensures that water served to its customers remains safe by collecting 15-plus bacteriological samples each week throughout the water distribution system. These samples are all collected and analyzed by certified Water Treatment Operators at the District’s ELAP certified lab. Water Treatment Operators are trained to look for and react to any water system anomalies that they encounter on a routine basis.  

PB: What types of treatments are applied to our drinking water to keep it safe? 

B&R: Surface water sources are treated at the Districts two conventional surface water treatment plants.  Conventional treatment utilizes coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation and filtration to physically remove particles from raw surface water.  After raw water is filtered, it is treated with chlorine to disinfect any remaining pathogens including viruses and bacteria. 

-              Groundwater sources are injected with chlorine as the water is pumped out of the well. 

The District uses chlorine to maintain disinfection as water travels throughout the distribution system.  Chlorine is expected to be effective at disinfecting COVID-19 as it has been demonstrated as an effective disinfectant against similar coronaviruses in EPA disinfection studies. “

PB: Has SLVWD ever had to allay these kinds of fears previously?

B&R: No, not in regards to a pandemic. We have had many other natural disasters, such as earthquakes, flooding, freezing, droughts and PG&E power outages. Each disaster required a different kind of response. We will need all required support from our customers and long hours from our dedicated staff to get through this situation. This pandemic is similar in that we will all have to work together and develop new policies to ensure staff and consumer safety.

PB: What is your message to your customers?

B&R: The District is here to provide essential service to its customers. The District water supply is safe to drink. We encourage customers to sign up for electronic billing services to avoid contact in person and by mail. The District is committed to working with customers who have issues paying their water bill due to the pandemic.  If customers experience difficulty in paying for their water service, please contact the District by telephone at (831) 338-2153 or by email at customerservice@slvwd.com.

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