To ensure that a safe supply of potable water remains available for residents, institutions, and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Brandon made a decision to continue sequestering staff at its municipal water treatment facility.

A second crew began its 24/7 onsite presence at the facility on April 23, 2020. Lodging trailers remained onsite to serve as personal accommodations for the sequestered crew, whose meal requirements and entertainment amenities all continue to be fully provided for.

The second crew, made up of eight operators and maintenance staff, took the place of nine municipal water treatment facility operators and maintenance staff that were initially sequestered on Thursday, March 26th. A contingency plan is in place if sequestering a third crew is required.

Alan Howe, a water treatment facility operator at the City of Brandon, said he and the other operators who were part of the initially-sequestered crew are very excited to be home with their families. The crew was also surprised at how fast four weeks of being confined to the facility went.

“We all very much appreciated the abundance of food and entertainment provided to us by the City of Brandon,” Howe said. “We had an adjustment period at the beginning, but felt comfortable in our surroundings at the end. If asked to come back in to the facility for another sequestration, we all would say ‘yes.’”

To ensure an adequate complement of maintenance staff for the second shift, Dustin Maxwell, a municipal water treatment facility maintenance worker at the City of Brandon was actually released from the plant earlier in the week and spent a week at home in isolation before returning to the facility for a second shift. Maxwell described to his time confined in the facility as a “comfortably stressful state” and that “we did miss our families, but we are glad to do our part.”

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Patrick Pulak, the general manager of operations at the City of Brandon, said every single staff member involved in the water facility sequestering plan should be commended for their dedication to ensuring the essential service of water production remained unimpeded by the coronavirus’ spread.

“We’ll continue to offer whatever supports are required by the families of sequestered staff and we continue to offer our genuine gratitude to all staff who have willingly sacrificed their personal comforts during a global pandemic in order to maintain the City’s water supply,” Pulak said.

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