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Attention PA-AWWA Members: An Update from KY/TN Section AWWA and Tornado Relief Efforts and How You Can Help!

Attention PA-AWWA Members: An Update from Us on Western Kentucky Water System Repair and Tornado Relief Efforts and How You Can Help!

The combination of the power of nature, the fragility of life, and the importance of community came to the forefront of our minds as we awoke to the aftermath of the devastating tornado that ravaged western Kentucky and parts of Tennessee. Those of us in the water business do not have to be told how essential it is to provide safe drinking water during a time like this. We already know! The KY/TN Section AWWA wants to thank those utilities, governmental agencies, and volunteers that are already active in providing relief. The need is certainly overwhelming, but the response from all across the commonwealth and surrounding states has been overwhelming, as well.

The Section has been working as part of the Kentucky Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (KYWARN) along with Kentucky Rural Water Association, our member network of utilities, and state emergency response agencies to try to meet the needs of the water/wastewater systems in western Kentucky. KYWARN is a network of “utilities helping utilities”. Many have sent generators and other equipment to the areas. Some have sent (or offered to send) their operations crews to relieve and assist where needed. Others have contributed financially toward these efforts. And for this, we are grateful. We have also been in constant contact with Kevin Morley, PhD, who manages utility security and preparedness initiatives for AWWA, including the State WARN Programs. Kevin has access to federal resources on our behalf and has been instrumental in advising us regarding emergency response protocols regarding water service.

In order to navigate the most critical needs and respond when and where necessary, we are working with these water systems to find out what they specifically need in order to get their systems back online. In this effort, we are attempting to stay as organized as possible and not create even more chaos for those utility employees. KYWARN has contacted each one and told them to send us any requests for water/wastewater equipment or services for their facilities. Therefore, we can send those requests as we receive them. We also ask that we have a WARN Mutual Aid Agreement from the utilities that are willing to provide assistance. Many utilities already have one on file; however, there are many that don’t. The agreement is can be found here and the benefits of having a signed version include:

• Agreement between utilities only.

• Expediting the arrival of aid – FEMA is muscular and provides support, but is not agile

• Reduces administrative conflict – Signed agreement in place – Workman’s comp, indemnification, etc. identified

• Increases community and customer hope – The right resources with the right skills are available

Signed agreements can be sent to Joe Burns, KYWARN Chair.

Our non-utility members are also looking for ways to assist. WFPL and their affiliated Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting have a very extensive list of ways you can help – whether you want to donate money, donate (urgently needed) blood, donate tangible things, or volunteer.

For any water utilities affected in Tennessee, please contact Sonia Allman, TNWARN Chair, regarding assistance and the Tennessee Mutual Aid Agreement.

Everything mentioned in the above message will provide emergency short-term relief, but let’s not fail to forget that the affects of this unrelenting storm will cause lingering long-term consequences. And we must be ready to provide assistance once all the emergency measures are gone.

Thank you valued members!

Katie Nolan, PE, KY/TN Section AWWA Chair

Kay Sanborn, PE, KY/TN Section AWWA Executive Director

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