CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia American Water announced in a press release that it will continue planned infrastructure projects across its service areas to provide reliable water and wastewater services to its customers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The release stated that this essential utility work is consistent with Governor Jim Justice’s Executive Order for essential businesses to remain in operation during the stay-at-home order.

Water and wastewater utilities are part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “critical infrastructure sectors,” according to the release, as safe drinking water is critical to protecting public health and properly treated water is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment.

“Safe, reliable water and wastewater service is essential, especially during a public health emergency. It is imperative that we continue to repair and renew aging pipe and upgrade pumps, valves, plants and other critical infrastructure to keep our systems operating efficiently and effectively,” said Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water. “We thank Governor Justice and the Public Service Commission for recognizing the need for critical water and wastewater services provided by utilities during this unprecedented time.”

The release stated that information about planned infrastructure projects is provided to customers in advance through company flyers, and on the West Virginia American water infrastructure upgrade map, which is available on the company’s website. Additionally, customers can be notified of emergency work and repairs by email, text or phone call though the company’s customer notification system, according to the release.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, West Virginia American Water is requesting that customers maintain physical distance from company employees and contractors on the job. The company is asking people who see a utility crew performing essential work in their areas and have a question to not approach the crew and instead, visit the company’s website or call customer service at 1-800-685-8660.

“Our operational employees are essential and need to report to work to continue delivering our critical services,” said Burton. “We recognize this is a time of uncertainty and challenge, and we thank our dedicated, hard-working teams for rising to this challenge. Their safety, and the safety of our customers and communities, is the top priority as we work through this event.”