I want to shine a light on a Delaware organization that stepped up in a crucial time of need. The Delaware Rural Water Association (DRWA) has emerged as Delaware’s leader in providing on-site technical assistance and specialized training for rural water and wastewater systems.
On March 26, a routine working day, DRWA received a notice from the Office of Governor John Carney that a water and wastewater operator in the town of Blades had been exposed to COVID-19, resulting in a 14-day quarantine. They were asked to service the town of Blades’ water treatment facility, and DRWA responded immediately, deploying two Circuit Riders to disinfect the entire water plant.
Rick Duncan, DRWA Executive Director told me his staff was eager to jump in and help. They had confidence they could get the job done because of their safety-first approach. Rick reports that everything at the facility is working well thanks to DRWA.
DRWA has had an ongoing relationship with USDA Rural Development as a customer and recently was awarded a $175,000 loan through our Community Facilities Program. The investment will be used to build a new DRWA training facility for operators to learn best practices and renew their required certifications. The new site is needed partly because the old conference room in the building isn’t large enough to accommodate the number of operators who sign up for classes.
Rural Development in Delaware and Maryland is proud to partner with an association that works to ensure clean water is accessible to rural Delawareans. Rick once said water and wastewater operators are a fellowship of friends—friends that leap at the opportunity to serve their communities. At the ceremony celebrating DRWA’s 30 years of service, more than 120 of their partners from federal and state agencies, organizations, and businesses attended, clear evidence of Rick’s statement.
DRWA’s actions during this pandemic could not have better demonstrated the theme: Together, America Prospers. Their willingness to respond in a time of need is the type of loyalty and commitment needed in rural communities. With Community Facilities funding from Rural Development, DRWA will be able to train more operators to deliver the highest quality of customer service to Delaware’s communities.