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    Water flushing recommendations for reopening businesses to protect staff and public health

    Updated 6/5/20

    To protect staff and public health, state and federal health agencies recommend flushing the plumbing system in buildings where there has been lower than normal water use before reopening. The Center for Disease Control and the Washington State Department of Health provide clear guidelines to perform proper water system flushing and cleaning to minimize the risk of bacterial growth. Visit our water quality page for more helpful resource links on building maintenance for safe reopening. Contact Bellevue Utilities’ Water Quality Office at 425-452-7840 or waterquality@bellevuewa.gov for help interpreting the guidelines. Staff are available 24/7 to help with water quality concerns.

    Bellevue Utilities COVID-19 response
    Updated 5/22/20
     

    To help residents experiencing financial stress due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as of March 11, Bellevue Utilities has suspended all water shutoffs for non-payment during the crisis.  
     
    “We know our residents are facing serious financial impacts from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Utilities Director Nav Otal. “We want to make sure everyone continues to have access to critical services that sustain health."

    Utilities will work with customers having difficulty paying their utility bill to set up payment plans or access available emergency financial assistance. During this time, customers will not be assessed additional fees or charges for past-due payments.

    Customers financially impacted by the outbreak can request payment plans for their water, sewer and drainage bills by contacting 425-452-6973 or utilities@bellevuewa.gov. Information about the Emergency Assistance Program is available at Utility Rate Relief

    Temporary water main shutdowns resume for construction projects

    With the Governor's order now allowing non-essential construction activities, Utilities plans to resume some construction work that involves temporary water shutdowns.

    Most projects involving water shutdowns halted when the "Stay Home" order was first issued, so residents would not be without water during the most critical times. It's important to restart this work now for several reasons - to protect water quality, support our economy by moving projects forward, and restore neighborhood streets where work has been unfinished.

    We understand being without water even for a short time will be difficult for people still working at home. Utilities will plan work to reduce the impact to customers as much as possible, including providing advanced notice to help customers prepare a temporary water supply, performing work at night in some cases, and offering extra bottled water supplies upon request.

    Limiting staff and resident exposure

    Utilities is continuing steps to protect field staff health and reduce exposure to the virus, which helps keep residents safe. Teams are staggering shifts, adding weekend shifts to allow for smaller crews and facilitate social distancing on the job.  

    No changes to essential services

    Despite these changes, most residents should not notice any difference in service levels. Customers who call the administrative office may experience a delay in response from staff working remotely, but Utilities will continue to be available for emergency help 24 hours a day.

    Other FAQs

    Is Bellevue's drinking water safe from COVID-19?

    Yes, your tap water is safe to drink and use. Bellevue purchases our drinking water from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). In a statement on their website, SPU confirms our drinking water "remains safe and protected against contaminants, including COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus." In addition to normal water treatment processes that remove and inactivate contaminants, SPU conducts daily water quality tests to help keep your water safe.

    For more information on how Bellevue Utilities maintains your water quality, and other information about water safety during COVID-19, visit www.bellevuewa.gov/water-quality. If you have any concerns about your water, please contact our water quality office anytime at 425-452-6192.

    Can I flush "flushable" wipes?

    Unfortunately, no. Flushed wipes do not break down in the system like toilet paper - even products that are labeled "flushable." When they clump together in pipes, they can eventually lead to hazardous and expensive sewer backups in your home or your neighborhood.
     

    The only products that should be flushed are human waste and toilet paper. Please trash all wipes - do not flush them. You will protect your home and our public system from serious damage.

    Bellevue Utilities provides high-quality, essential services that you rely on every day — drinking water, wastewater, storm and surface water and solid waste. We take pride in making sure these services are dependable, a good value for the money and delivered with the customer in mind.

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