EBMUD September 2020

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Ways to Shelter-n-Play—Check out EBMUD’s fun programs to do at home or on your own

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EBMUD

Here when you need us most

Why your drinking water is safe from coronavirus

How wastewater treatment protects you and the Bay

Water is essential and so are EBMUD’s workers

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Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the EBMUD promise is simple We will deliver clean, affordable water to the people of the East Bay, and treat wastewater before safely releasing it to San Francisco Bay. Every one of EBMUD’s 2,000 employees has sworn to uphold this civil service oath. We’re here for you, no matter what. Water is essential

Clean water is fundamental to the fight against the coronavirus. One of the most amazing things about the water you drink is what’s not in it. After it melts off the Sierra Nevada and meanders into rivers and lakes, EBMUD collects it, treats it and sends it to your tap. EBMUD water treatment plants eliminate pathogens, including viruses and bacteria; making EBMUD drinking water safe from coronavirus. When it reaches your tap, our water meets or surpasses every state and federal requirement that safeguards public health. EBMUD produces about 160 million gallons of delicious, clean, safe water—enough to fill about 2.5 billion drinking glasses—every day.

EBMUD’s services are essential

Once-in-a-century pandemic? We’ve been here before. EBMUD stands ready to provide you with safe, reliable water and wastewater services through public health emergencies.

Critical infrastructure is essential

Our commitment to you never wavers. Critical infrastructure work moves ahead even as we adapt to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. When you pay your water bill, you invest in necessary work to monitor water quality and maintain a complex water and wastewater system.

You can count on reliable service

Teams of chemists, microbiologists and operators perform more

This public health crisis has affected us in many than ways. Know that EBMUD will not disconnect customers’ water service due to payment issues laboratory tests during this health emergency. EBMUD offers each year to ensure payment plans and a Customer Assistance our drinking water Program to help customers facing financial hardships. Call Customer Service at (866) is safe. 403-2683 or visit www.ebmud.com/cap Learn more about EBMUD for more information.

20,000

water quality at ebmud.com/wqr.

Masked employees in East Bay Water Company’s main office in Oakland during the worldwide flu epidemic of 1918.

THEN

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EB M U D

Critical infrastructure work continues with enhanced health and safety measures during today’s coronavirus pandemic.

NOW

Available in Spanish and Chinese.


Wastewater treatment saves lives In 1951, EBMUD began operating its Main Wastewater Treatment Plant. Since then, EBMUD has protected public health and San Francisco Bay from pollution by treating an average of 52 million gallons every day of residential, commercial, and Wastewater treatment is essential industrial sewage.

to public health

THEN

EBMUD protects you and the San Francisco Bay from disease and pollution every day. Consider the alternative in light of these global statistics.

4 .5 billion

1 in 5 girls

percent

globally have no toilets at home to safely manage waste.

globally are not in school because of a lack of toilets or latrines.

of all global deaths could be prevented with wastewater treatment.

(WHO)

(CDC)

(CDC)

people

1940s Berkeley, Strawberry Creek. Raw sewage was discharged to the bay without treatment.

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NOW Today EBMUD wastewater treatment eliminates 99.9 percent of water-borne illnesses.

Wastewater Plant Operator Juan collects samples for laboratory analysis.

EB M U D

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EBMUD workers are essential Even under shelter-in-place orders, critical work must continue. That includes repairing pipes that break, purifying drinking water and treating wastewater to protect San Francisco Bay. EBMUD is taking important precautions to protect our workers, such as geographically isolating or rotating essential staff, providing face masks and EBMUD-created hand sanitizer, restricting access and increasing cleaning frequency at critical facilities, ensuring a consistent supply chain for chemicals, and keeping operators in reserve. We love our essential workers and protect them so they can protect you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

We continue to repair main breaks, replace pipes and install new equipment when it’s needed. For example, we were on a job at the planned new middle school in Carquinez. The old school is seismically unsafe, and they couldn’t build the new one until we moved our pipe. If you see our crews in your neighborhood, help us remain healthy—wear a mask and please stay at least six feet away. —Anselmo, Water Distribution Plumber

I’m proud of the role I play to keep our facilities clean and safe. We’ve worked hard to adapt as the coronavirus pandemic has evolved. Early on, when it was hard to get disinfectant wipes, we made our own and distributed them to employees who needed them most. — Manny, Janitor

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Even in the midst of the pandemic, we must still get ready for fire season. The rangers build fuel breaks, remove highly flammable vegetation and do controlled burns. We reduce the threat of wildfires and protect water quality by managing 29,000 acres of open space surrounding our local reservoirs here in the East Bay using a range of tools from tractors to grazing goats. —Joe, Ranger/Naturalist

We’re utilizing ultraviolet light to kill by disrupting their nucleic acids. Bas recommendations, this procedure w what some hospitals have recently a reuse N95 masks during the persona

I have been employed as a Wastewater Control Inspector at EBMUD for 25 years. Inspectors are considered “Essential Workers”. We have been on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has not been easy. But we are here; protecting the San Francisco Bay. Doing our jobs. — Debra, Wastewater Control Inspector

Every day, unclog soand equipm contact wi in the wast toilet and c


l (or inactivate) bacteria microorganisms sed on Centers for Disease Control we’ve developed in the lab is similar to adopted in order for people to safely al protective equipment shortages. —Iris, Chemist II

Testing for coronavirus in sewage EBMUD is collecting wastewater samples and has been working with a number of laboratories, including Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and the University of South Carolina, to analyze coronavirus levels in East Bay wastewater. Where a typical coronavirus test only samples one person, these wastewater tests can sample an entire population of a given region. Our wastewater testing provides information on the infection rates of the 685,000 people served by EBMUD’s wastewater treatment plant. Monitoring coronavirus in wastewater can detect and track regional outbreaks and guide public health measures, like increased clinical testing and distribution of medical supplies and resources, to ensure a more efficient regional and state response. Tracking the virus in wastewater provides a useful tool for understanding COVID-19’s prevalence in the community, but this doesn’t mean that the virus is likely to be spread through wastewater. This is because the modern wastewater treatment process easily removes this virus. EBMUD has conducted testing to demonstrate that treated water discharged from the EBMUD wastewater treatment plant to the Bay is free from coronavirus.

Wastewater Control Inspectors, Gabriela and Zach, collect wastewater samples from large diameter sewer pipes for coronavirus analysis.

wastewater operators like me have to -called ‘flushable’ wipes from our pumps ment, putting us in unsafe conditions and ith sewage. Those wipes never break down tewater system. They can also clog your cause a sewage overflow in your house. —Huong, Wastewater Plant Operator

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Fun at home with EBMUD Check out these exciting programs offered by EBMUD that are perfect during shelter-in-place!

Order free K-12 activity books

Lose your lawn, gain a garden

See how our water comes from the mountains to your tap, learn how you can protect the environment and more on our Education Resources page: ebmud.com/education

Hunt for leaks

DIY home improvements are booming while more people are at home. Now is a great time to repair that leaky faucet. For tips on finding common household leaks, visit ebmud.com/leaks or order a Free Home Survey Kit, great for engaging the whole family at ebmud.com/homesurveykit

Choose native plants

It’s been a long hot summer, but native plants are designed for this! Pick native plants that will thrive — not just survive — in our summer-dry climate. Fall is the best time to plant with rains just around the corner. For a list of our goto favorites, visit ebmud.com/plants

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Visit a demonstration garden

For fresh air and inspiration, check out East Bay gardens featuring sustainable landscaping principles. Several demonstration gardens are open to the public. Visitors should practice safe physical distancing and wear face coverings as recommended by the County Health Department. See our map at ebmud.com/gardens-near-me

Gardens are part of the climate solution by restoring soil health to draw down carbon and supporting biodiversity. If we cut lawns in half nationally, we could create more than 20 million acres of new habitat — that’s greater than all the national parks combined! To get started, visit ebmud.com/lawntogarden

Take an online tour

Learn all about EBMUD’s Main Wastewater Treatment Plant. If you’ve ever wondered what happens after you flush, join EBMUD staff to learn more about wastewater treatment and San Francisco Bay protection through one of our virtual tours. Register at ebmud.com/wwtp-tours


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Oakland

SAN FRANCISCO BAY

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EBMUD is pleased to provide a 2020 update to our East Bay trail map in a variety of user-friendly formats. When COVID-19 restrictions allow, trail permit holders will be able to pick up a printed map at Lafayette Reservoir or San Pablo Reservoir, or Orinda Watershed Headquarters. Until then, visit ebmud.com/eastbaytrails and use our online trail map’s advanced features, including 3-D viewing. You can also download our maps to your cell phone or print them at home so you can always know where you are – even on remote trails with spotty cell service. M

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Trail users must have a trail permit. It’s only $10 a year. Visit ebmud.com/recreation to purchase one.

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EBMUD is adjusting access to trails and recreation areas as needed to comply with public health orders. To stay abreast of changes, visit ebmud.com/eastbaytrails. Please bring a face covering.

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Get some fresh air while social distancing on the 90 miles of local trails traversing our precious watershed lands. Here are a few of our rangers’ favorite hikes: OVERALL FAVORITES: Oursan Trail Redwood Trail

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Partners in protecting San Francisco Bay

CREEK TO BAY MONTH September 2020

Do Y

o u r Pa r t ! - D e c i d e W h e

n & Where to S

tar t!

San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and our job is to protect and improve the quality of San Francisco Bay, creeks, wetlands, groundwater, and other natural water resources in the region. We issue permits for actions that have the potential to pollute these waters, enforce compliance with permit requirements, and investigate and require cleanup of polluted waters. We also work with the public and private partners to promote stewardship and collaborative efforts. Find more information and opportunities to participate at www.WaterBoards.ca.gov/ SanFranciscoBay/

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) is a center of 25th Annual Creek to Bay Event

Pledge to clean & green Oaklandand to protect & conserve water at home! #OaktownPROUD #VolunteerOakland #CreektoBay #ProtectYourHappyPlace

(510) 238-7630

independent environmental science for the Bay Area and Delta region. We serve as a trusted advisor to local and state agencies. We provide sound, objective scientific knowledge for decision makers on water, ecosystem and urban environmental issues. At SFEI, we envision resilient ecosystems where people and wildlife thrive. Our mission is to deliver visionary science that empowers people to revitalize nature in our communities. For more information go to www.sfei.org

oaklandcreektobay.org Accessibility request? adoptaspot@oaklandca.gov | (510) 238-7630 | 711 for relay service © City of Oakland, 2020

O

ver the past six years, the wastewater agencies discharging to EBMUD have invested in repairing underground infrastructure to keep spills out of the Bay. Driven by the requirements of an EPA and SF Bay Regional Water Board settlement, over 150 miles of sewer main have been replaced or rehabilitated. Sewer spills, often caused by tree roots and cooking grease in pipes, have been reduced by 29%. Homeowners help modernize wastewater infrastructure by inspecting and repairing sewer laterals which connect the house to sewer pipes. This critical work to eliminate spills to the Bay will continue for the next 15 years.

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e are all stewards of San Francisco Bay—and likewise, the Bay sustains and defines us. The Bay Area is like no other place on earth.

Baykeeper is the Bay’s defender, and we hold polluters accountable. If you see pollution or harm happening to the Bay, contact our hotline: hotline@baykeeper.org 1-800-KEEP-BAY