Boise Water Renewal Services

Wastewater flows through the treatment process at the city of Boise's Water Renewal Services plant on Lander Street, Friday, May 31, 2019.

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BOISE — Essential public works employees might soon be sheltering in place at water renewal facilities as COVID-19 spreads.

On Tuesday, the Boise City Council approved the purchase of up to 23 travel trailers from four area retailers for a maximum cost of roughly $355,000 to provide safe places for operators of Boise’s water renewal facilities to be able to shelter in place. If the travel trailers are ordered, they will be delivered by the local retailers to the specific water treatment plant in 48 hours and be ready for an employee to stay on site while they work to minimize their exposure to the disease.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 has been detected in the feces of some patients diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” a memo to Boise City Council about the purchase said. “Proper operation of Water Renewal Facilities is effective at inactivating the virus, and therefore continued operation of these facilities is critical to the health and well-being of the community.”

Water renewal facility staff have complex skill sets and are needed to run the facilities 24 hours a day to keep the city sanitary. According to the memo, the city’s plan is to have a minimum number of staff members shelter in place at the facilities for several days and rotate out on a schedule to keep them in a more controlled environment.

These costs may be reimbursable by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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