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Here’s one thing you won’t have to worry about during coronavirus pandemic

All disconnections of water service suspended

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(Lars Baron/Getty Images)

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As you stock up on supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic, you won’t need to be concerned about water.

As we navigate through unprecedented times of a state of emergency in Miami-Dade County, the folks at Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD), which is experienced working under emergency conditions, want all their customers to rest assured that your water will remain accessible and safe to drink. Wastewater services will also be unaffected.

Because WASD wants all its customers to have uninterrupted service to safe drinking water, Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez has directed the department to suspend all disconnections of water service for non-payment for the next 30 days. In fact, WASD personnel have re-connected previously disconnected customers.

Ways to dispose

As WASD does its best to serve its customers, there are ways you can help protect the wastewater system. Because people are cleaning and disinfecting more frequently with bleach wipes, and potentially substituting other items for toilet paper -- such as baby wipes and paper towels -- residents are encouraged to throw these items away in the trash and not flush them down the toilet. These items do not break down in the sewer lines and can cause significant clogs that could lead to sewage spills, pump system failures and treatment plant issues. Click or tap here for more information on what is not OK to flush.

Customer service

WASD staff continues to read customers’ meters in person to provide consumption-based bills. Because of that, customers are asked to provide access to the meter so bill estimations can be avoided.

Do you have a question about your account? Many things can be handled either online or by phone to decrease customers from visiting in person at office locations. WASD customer service locations that remain open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays are the Caleb Center, Le Jeune Road and South Dade Government Center.

Water conservation

It’s the dry season. Because rain doesn’t look like it will be in the weather forecast for the immediate future, WASD wants everyone to “water wisely.” Miami-Dade County has permanent water restrictions in place. Residents with odd addresses can water before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Those who live at even addresses can water during the same timeframes on Thursdays and Sundays.

WASD also has many rebate programs that can help you not only have lush landscaping, but conserve water at the same time.

Washing your hands

People are heeding the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to wash your hands frequently and for a minimum of 20 seconds to kill germs, but make sure you shut the faucet off during this time. Did you know that if you have an older faucet and let the water run for 20 seconds, you will waste three-quarters of a gallon of water each time you wash your hands? That adds up to a lot of wasted water. Even if you have a high-efficiency faucet, you would still waste half a gallon during those 20 seconds.

Click here for additional water conservation tips.

Safety tips

Living during the coronavirus pandemic is challenging enough without the potential threat of con-artists trying to take advantage of people.

WASD has provided the following tips to help customers and their families remain safe.

  • There have been reports of people portraying themselves as employees of various government agencies in an attempt to gain entry to people’s homes. While no one has yet attempted to portray themselves as a WASD employee, please be aware that department employees would not need to enter a customer’s home to conduct their business.
  • Because Miami-Dade’s water is safe to drink, and we continue to provide normal water service delivery, WASD employees would not show up unscheduled to your home needing “to check that the plumbing works” or “test the water.” Customers can still request that WASD lab employees take water quality samples at their homes, but the department has modified sampling protocols, due to the state of emergency, to only sample from outside spigots rather than inside the home, in order to minimize contact between staff and customers.
  • During the State of Emergency, there will be no service disconnections, therefore, no one would be calling you to take payments over the phone or requesting payment in person at your home in attempt to prevent your water being cut.

Because WASD continues to perform fundamental services in the community, it is important for residents to know how to verify that the people in your neighborhoods are indeed performing in official capacities. Residents can call the Customer Service Center at 305-665-7477 or 311. During after hours, customers can call WASD’s Emergency Communications Center at 305-274-9272.

Here are ways you can ensure you’re dealing with WASD employees:

  • Miami-Dade Water and Sewer employees always wear properly marked uniforms that identify themselves as Miami-Dade County employees for WASD.
  • WASD employees also drive Miami-Dade County marked vehicles when conducting department business.
  • WASD employees also will display proper department identification cards while conducting business on behalf of the department.
  • WASD employees, in most cases, will never have to access a customer’s yard/property to conduct services (unless your meter is located on your property), let alone have to enter a customer’s home. In many cases, the department will also proactively provide advance notice to customers when large scale construction jobs are taking place near their home and list department staff contact information so customers can obtain additional information.

Safety is paramount not only for our employees in how we conduct our business, but also ensuring that the residents we work for also feel safe. We can all play a role in protecting our family, friends and neighbors.

In an effort to contribute to keeping its customers healthy and safe during the state of emergency, WASD is committed to informing its customers of any significant changes to the level of service.