The Macon Water Authority

790 Second Street • Macon, GA 31202-0108 • (478) 464-5600

« Back to News

Coronavirus Update: Caring for Customers

Apr 1, 2020 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

Matt_odom_photography-9154_copy

While the customer service lobby is closed, the drive-thru window remains open, and MWA customers have several payment options online and by phone. Customers are encouraged to keep accounts current, but disconnections have been temporarily suspended.

With the safety and care of customers, employees, and the community in mind, the MWA has implemented several initiatives, which include responses to recommendations from health care professionals and proactive approaches to ensure the continued protection of public health, safety and well-being, through the safe and reliable delivery of water, sewer and related services.

While MWA officials and community leaders’ plea for social distancing and for citizens to stay home, the Authority already is experiencing unexpected byproducts of these developments.

For one, MWA sewer maintenance workers are reporting an increase in the number of wet wipes and other non-dispersible items in the sewer system. MWA officials are reminding customers to please DO NOT FLUSH wet wipes or other non-dispersible items, noting: “the toilet is not a trash can.” Even wet wipes marketed as “flushable” or “septic safe” are not made to break down once they’ve entered the MWA sewer system. As a result, these items can cause sewer line blockages, sewer spills and overflows, in addition to damaging the MWA sewer collection, conveyance and treatment equipment and processes.

In addition, with more people staying home as a result of the Coronavirus and COVID-19, the MWA is experiencing an increase in the amount of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) entering the sewer system. Like wet wipes and non-dispersible items, FOG can clog residential plumbing, cause blockages and subsequent sewer spills and overflows within the MWA sewer system, and potentially impact the environment and water quality. MWA officials ask customers to please DO NOT POUR FATS, OILS, OR GREASE down the sink. Proper disposal includes letting grease cool before pouring it into a container to throw away in the trash. And wiping dishes and plates clean prior to washing also helps to prevent sewer line clogs.

To date, the MWA has been proactive in responding to the current Coronavirus crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the most recent developments at the MWA include:

MWA Suspends Disconnections

With the Coronavirus impacting many customers economically, the MWA Board approved a measure to suspend service disconnections as an enforcement action for customer non-payment of water and/or sewer bills. Additionally, the Board also made the decision to suspend all administration fees and late penalties on customer accounts.

However, the Authority encourages customers to keep their accounts current by continuing to pay their bills. The MWA features several convenient payment options that are still available to customers during the pandemic, including payments online through the MWA customer self-service portal or via mail, phone or other methods.

MWA Closes Customer Service Lobby

While MWA employees continue to work through the challenges and risks that this COVID-19 pandemic presents, the Authority has closed its customer service lobby inside the Albert

Billingslea Building, in an effort to prevent the potential spread of the Coronavirus through interpersonal interactions, such as payments or applications taken in person for service. The customer service lobby will remain closed until further notice.

However, the drive thru window at the Albert Billingslea Building remains open for customers to pay their bills or seek assistance from MWA staff. Other safe, effective payment methods during the pandemic include payments by mail, via the drop box at the MWA Headquarters, payments online via the customer self-service portal (https://customers.maconwater.org/css/public/login) or Live Chat, or payments by phone to the Customer Care Department (478-464-5600) using a credit card, debit card, or bank account number; or, MWA customers can use the Invoice Cloud toll-free number at 1-844-517-9741. Customers should have a copy of their latest bill – or at least be able to reference their account number – when paying bills by any of these remote payment options.

With the uncertainty of what will occur in the coming weeks, MWA customers may experience longer than usual wait times when contacting the Authority by phone, especially if there is a reduction in the utility’s workforce as a result of employee absences due to illness or the need to provide childcare.

MWA Halts Public Fishing at Javors Lucas Lake

Beginning Friday, March 27, the 2020 Public Fishing Season at Javors Lucas is halted until further notice. MWA officials are doing so to promote social distancing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and COVID-19. This policy falls in line with similar decisions to close restaurants, bars, venues, etc. upon the recommendations of health care officials, while also complementing the decision by Macon-Bibb County Government to close Lake Tobesofkee.

Is My Water Safe to Drink?

Absolutely. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), conventional water treatment, such as what is provided by the MWA, uses filtration and disinfection that removes pathogens such as COVID-19. In addition, the World Health Organization adds that the presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies. There is no evidence that the virus is present in public drinking water systems.

MWA Water and Sewer Services Uninterrupted

Thanks to the dedication of MWA staff, which includes more than 200 water professionals in the field and at facilities throughout the community, the Authority has not experienced – and does not anticipate – any interruption of water or sewer services during the pandemic. The MWA is well prepared to provide water and sewer service under these challenging circumstances.

For more information and updates on policies to address the current pandemic, contact MWA Customer Care at 478-464-5600, or refer to updates on this website (www.maconwater.org).

Media contact:
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
P: 770-757-1681
E: chris@jwapr.com OR john.wood@gcsu.edu

MWA contact:
Lisa Golphin, Senior Executive of Strategic Planning
P: 478-464-5623 OR 478-227-1981
E: lgolphin@maconwater.org

Tagged: mwa, macon water authority, coronavirus, covid19

FAQ's of the MWA

Do you have questions about the MWA? Check out our FAQ’s, which include topics that may be of interest.

View Common Questions »

Businesses Welcome

The MWA supports economic development in our community. That starts with us providing quality service to you.

Establish New Water Service »

Career Opportunities

The MWA is a great place to work, with career opportunities. We may have a job opening ideal for you.

View Career Opportunities »

Projects & Bids

For those seeking to do business with the MWA, check out our project bids, tabulations, awards, and more.

View Projects & Bids »