RYE BROOK, N.Y. – Xylem Watermark, the corporate citizenship program of global water technology company Xylem Inc., announced it is sourcing and donating 40,000 N95 masks to frontline utility operators. The program is providing for the safety of essential water, wastewater and solid waste utility workers in smaller, rural and tribal utilities who have kept water flowing in their communities amidst the challenges of COVID-19. The first shipments of face masks began in late July.
Most of the equipment will be sent to water utilities in communities with less than 2,500 residents. The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and 120Water have partnered with Watermark to get the equipment directly into the hands of essential frontline workers. RCAP is a national non-profit network that provides resources and support to rural communities across the United States and has deep knowledge of rural water utilities. RCAP Network Technical Assistance Providers, located in every state and territory, are working with rural and tribal communities to provide access to the PPE.120Water provides turnkey drinking water program management solutions for municipalities, public water systems and others throughout the county, and is providing direct delivery of the PPE to rural utility operators. With these partnerships, frontline workers can more safely maintain communities’ access to water and sanitation throughout the pandemic.
“The role of water in community health and resilience has grown during the pandemic,” said Joe Vesey, Xylem’s chief marketing officer and chair of Xylem Watermark. “This PPE initiative is one aspect of our efforts to support the health and safety of essential water operators as they serve their communities. A safe working environment is a fundamental part of providing safe water and sanitation to our communities. By combining our efforts with innovative partners like RCAP and 120Water, and with hard-working local utilities, we are one step closer to solving water in those communities.”
“Water utilities provide an essential service, making it critical for these front line workers to have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need in order to stay safe delivering clean drinking water and uninterrupted waste water services during the pandemic,” said Megan Glover, CEO of 120Water. “This effort demonstrates what can be accomplished when organizations work together.”
“Small rural and tribal communities are often left to fend for themselves in emergency situations. RCAP’s technical assistance providers work with thousands of small communities every year, and those relationships provide opportunities to better understand the unique needs of some of the most vulnerable across the country,” said Nathan Ohle, RCAP CEO. “This partnership is what makes the RCAP Network so special. The ability to partner to address PPE supply chain issues for the smallest communities and provide resources to address those issues is imperative to building capacity at the local level, and ensuring the safety and health of our nation’s frontline water, wastewater and solid waste operators.”
Xylem Watermark’s sourcing and distribution of face masks is part of Xylem’s broader package of COVID-19 assistance. This partnership with 120Water and RCAP is an extension of Xylem Watermark’s work to increase the water resilience of communities around the world.