A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sanitation District No. 1 navigates COVID-19 pandemic with commitment to safety and ‘thriving’

When it became apparent that the COVID-19 global pandemic would have a direct and dramatic impact on Sanitation District No. 1 work processes, staffing routines and service delivery, the message from Executive Director Adam Chaney was simple – SD1 would succeed through the crisis with patience, persistence and positivity.

And while those three words have become the guideposts for SD1’s comprehensive response to COVID-19, three other words have become just as important – business as usual.

The goal, it quickly became clear, was not to merely “get through” the pandemic, but to thrive through it.

SD1 has released an update on the “new normal” in “Healthy at SD1: Thriving Despite COVID-19.”

In an environment that can only be described as unprecedented chaos, SD1 was forced to reevaluate all facets of the regional storm water and wastewater utility, from how it engages customers to how it keeps staff healthy and safe. New technologies were implemented, processes across the district were enhanced and staff worked together like never before to adapt to the “new normal.”

This week, SD1 released an update on that new normal in “Healthy at SD1: Thriving Despite COVID-19,” a 16-page report that highlights successes over the past few months, new and improved business practices and enhanced customer service options, including:

• Working with local county officials to redefine the scope of identified priority growth needs;

• Migrating most safety training to online, saving money and staff time;

• Installing new flow monitoring hardware and tools under new protocols to address the risk of COVID-19 in sewage and close-proximity installation;

• Expanded the hours of the SD1 Customer Care Center;

• Transitioned numerous processes to paperless, including easement requests, tapper and inspection documents, plan submittals, accounting and finance documents and submission of sanitary plans and projects to the Kentucky Division of Water;

• Converted Certified Tapper training to online;

• SD1 has temporarily suspended penalties, late fees and water disconnection for nonpayment and delayed a planned 5-percent revenue increase for the current fiscal year;

• Launched a new website that is more user friendly, mobile responsive and ADA complaint;

• Maintained a 2-hour trouble call response time;

• Incorporated new technology into open records request process, saving money and shortening response times;

• Utilized a combination of Facebook Live and Microsoft Teams to ensure Board meetings could continue as scheduled with an opportunity for full public participation;

While the COVID-19 crisis continues, SD1 has demonstrated a nimble and creative approach that stresses patience, persistence and positivity while ensuring the job of reliably providing Northern Kentucky with wastewater and stormwater services continues to get done.

From Sanitation District No. 1

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