In order to secure the production and the supply of tap water without outage even if emergency situations occur because of the spread of COVID-19, Seoul is operating the “Emergency Water Supply System” at six Arisu Water Purification Centers throughout the city.
The emergency system is organized with Step 1 (when some personnel are self-isolated) and Step 2 (when there are confirmed cases) in preparation for a situation in which the personnel become infected by COVID-19. As the city has completed preparation for emergencies, the emergency system will be immediately operated should there be a real situation.
Seoul has not only prepared countermeasures for the case in which some personnel of the center need to be self-quarantined, but also examined in advance the consequential problems for the worst case scenario in which the persons in charge of the “central control room,” the main facility that monitors and handles the process of tap water production in real time, gets infected with the disease, which will lead to closure of the facility. The interim control station, which can be used if the central control room is shut down, has been set up and alternative human resources comprising a total of 249 individuals, including retirees, are in place.
The city explained that it focused on operation without gaps, as the central control room maintains the quantity of production while predicting the real-time consumption of tap water. It would be of great hindrance in the production and supply of tap water if its operation is halted even for a short period of time.
• Step 1 (when some personnel of the centers are self-isolated): The facilities where they work will be cleaned and disinfected. The working schedule will be adjusted for currently working personnel. If it is those working in the central control room, the working rotation for four teams will be altered into that for three teams. Currently, 169 workers are working seamlessly for the central control room, two shifts by four teams, 24 hours a day, all year round, for the supply of safe tap water without outage.
• Step 2 (when there are confirmed COVID-19 cases): If the central control room is closed due to the confirmation of COVID-19 cases, the interim control station established at six Arisu Water Purification Centers will be operated. Should there be a shortage in manpower due to the isolation of a majority of workers, a total of 249 urgent substitutes, including the personnel who moved to other institutions and retirees, will be deployed. The process involved in water purification is difficult to be understood by the inexperienced, so those who were relocated from water purification centers and retirees have been selected as substitutes.
Additionally, the city is sparing no effort in preventing the occurrence and spread of the infectious disease within the water purification centers through temporally suspending the water purification center field-trip program, controlling the access of the public, and having body temperatures of the officials working in the facilities checked.