Brandon activating emergency plan for water treatment plant

BRANDON — The City of Brandon is activating its pandemic preparedness plan at the Municipal Water Treatment Facility.

The decision was made by the Brandon Emergency Response Control Group and will take effect on Thursday.

Starting at 6 p.m., a group of nine facility operators and maintenance staff will go into the plant and remain sequestered on-site 24/7.

Mayor Rick Chrest said this decision shouldn’t raise any alarms for the public and that this step is a proactive one.

“In keeping with our Emergency Coordinator Brian Kayes’ philosophy of ‘Get Big Fast’ in an emergency response, we are doing all we can to ensure that we have a full contingent of healthy staff to perform critical functions at the municipal water treatment facility,” Chrest said in a news release. “I want to personally commend this group of water treatment facility staff, who have stepped up and put the comfort and security of their own lives on hold in order to ensure that our community’s supply of safe, potable water remains uninterrupted.”

Each of the nine staff volunteered for the position.

There will also be another 14 workers who will be on the job outside of the facility and plans are in place that if a shift change is needed due to health, it can be done in the coming weeks.

The city said trailers have been brought to the facility to serve as personal accommodations for the crew.

Patrick Pulak, general manager of Development Services, said this plan was put in place to maintain the health of the operators at the facility and not because COVID-19 can travel through the water supply.

“As residual chlorine in the water leaving our treatment facility serves to kill any such viruses, we want to ensure residents that the water coming from their tap in their home continues to be the same safe supply of water we have always produced,” Pulak said in a news release.