Like you, staff with the Oklahoma City Utilities Department are keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 pandemic, and its effects on our community. We are working closely with City and State officials, as well as experts with the City-County Health Department, to ensure a swift response in this ever-changing situation while remaining focused on our core operations. During this time, we want to keep our customers and stakeholders informed of everything we are doing to ensure continuity of services.
Here is how we are responding.
First, your water is safe. Our Water Quality team remains fully staffed and ready to continue providing you with safe, clean drinking water so you can focus on your individual and family needs. Studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and American Water Works Association have shown that there is no risk of contamination of the COVID-19 virus in our drinking water supply, and any contamination would be easily eradicated using standard treatment methods, including chlorination. You can read more about COVID-19 and drinking water at the EPA website.
Second, we're here to help. We have stopped water service cut-offs to residential customers until further notice. Customers who have been disconnected for non-payment may call (405) 297-2833 to have their service turned back on. We are also working with those customers who find themselves in a position where their income has been reduced due to layoffs, furloughs or other situations. Please call one of our representatives who can work with you if you need help. For those who wish to help others, you can do so by rounding up your own water bill payment as part of our Help2Others program through the Salvation Army.
We'll continue to pick up the trash. While we aren't changing any routes or cutting back on collection servies, we are implementing suspesion of our bagged trash pick-up program to help protect our solid waste workers. This means that for the duration of this emergency, we will stop collecting any bagged trash that is set out alongside your Big Blues or regular bulky waste. We're asking customers to put all bagged trash, including grass clippings, inside your Big Blue trash cart/s so they will be picked up. If our crews see that bags are still left out, they will tag the bags notifying customers of the change. Bagged trash requires employees to pick up the bags by hand and put them in the carts manually. Please DO NOT use your Big Green recycling cart for any regular trash.
What can you do instead?
Order extra carts. For the duration of the emergency, the Utilities Department has suspended fees for customers that may need to order additional carts. Customers may have up to four Big Blues total, which includes two carts as part of standard service, and up to two additional carts upon request.
UPDATE: As of April 9, we are limiting orders of additional carts to 1 per customer household to keep up with current demand. As soon as additional carts have been shipped to us, we will get them delivered.
UPDATE 2: As of April 15, we are experiencing shortages in our cart inventory for extra cart delivery. We have ordered new carts from our manufactuers, but it may take between 60-90 days for carts to be delivered.
Need an alternative to bags?
Try composting. Creating a backyard compost bin is simple, and great for the environment. You can use leaves, grass clippings, certain food items and other organic materials to help you create a nutrient-rich soil product great for flower beds or to top-coat your lawn.
For more healthy lawn tips, visit www.squeezeeverydrop.com
Free Landfill Day Postponed
The Oklahoma City Utilities Department is postponing its free landfill day scheduled for Saturday, May 2 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The department will consider a new date once restrictions have eased. The City generally hosts two free landfill days for solid waste customers each year at four participating landfills. As soon as a make-up date is determined, the Utilities Department will send out notification to customers.
Keeping Our Employees Healthy To ensure continuation of services for our customers, the City has implemented several protocols to help ensure the well-being of our employees.
- We have implemented a tele-commuting program for those employees whose jobs allow them to work from remote locations.
- We are practicing social distancing protocols in those areas where work-at-home options are not available.
- Proper PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment) are available to all front-line service employees.
- We have increased disinfection of many of our work sites, and have implemented new protocols for workers in those areas.
- We have altered our shift schedules for certain functions so fewer employees are at the job site at any one time.
- We are hosting work-related meetings using available online technologies.
- The City Manager has closed off all City buildings to the public. Drop-off tables are available for developers and others who need to deliver engineering schematics or other forms.
- We have cancelled all work-related out-of-town travel, onsite facility tours and participation in community events and programs.
We will continue to work with local and state emergency responders, the City-County Health Department, the Mayor and Oklahoma City Manager, national water, wastewater and solid waste experts, and our own local engineers and staff to ensure that we are all able to conitnue providing our customers with critical need services throughout this crisis. Thank you for your understanding ,and please stay safe!