Drinking water in Australia is high quality and is well treated. At this stage there is no evidence that drinking water is affected by the COVID-19 virus or that it is transmitted in drinking water.
Water is an essential service and Goulburn Valley Water is well prepared to manage our response to COVID-19. The safety of drinking water supplied to Victorians is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services under a comprehensive framework that aims to ensure a consistent, reliable supply of safe, good quality drinking water.
We understand many of our customers are experiencing significant financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
While we make sure we continue to deliver safe and reliable water and wastewater services and look after the safety of staff and communities, we also want to support our customers.
If you are having difficulty paying your bill please contact us and we’ll do all we can to help. The earlier you contact us, the sooner we can respond. We’re still answering the phone and there are other ways we can assist. Contact us however you feel most comfortable - over the phone, on email, through our website and customer portal, or through social media.
We have options for customers who are having trouble paying bills, such as providing more time pay, payment installment plans, access to concessions and government grants and free financial counselling through our community partners. We already have hardship programs in place to assist you if you are experiencing financial challenges. We are also looking at other options to help those experiencing financial hardship, including businesses that may not have been eligible for hardship support in the past.
This is a challenging time, and we won’t be restricting the water supply for anyone who can’t pay their bills as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. We made a commitment in our current Price Plan to reduce our prices to customers; they will not increase now as a result of COVID-19.
In line with Victorian Government requirements, we have a COVIDSafe Plan in place, which sets out our safety requirements to help keep our staff and customers safe. This includes a requirement to sign in to our buildings for contact tracing purposes, as well as additional PPE and cleaning measures. The plan also sets out the controls we have in place to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19, and how to ensure continuity of services as an essential service provider.
We're continuing to deliver our essential water and wastewater services. We are well prepared to face the challenges posed by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Many staff are now working from home as we’ve closed our front counters to the public to help stop the COVID-19 spread, but we’re still answering the phone and there are other ways we can assist.
Some of our operations staff are out working in the field carrying out critical maintenance works. They’re also following all social distancing and PPE/health requirements to ensure their safety and community safety.
Business customer requirements to maintain grease interceptor traps during the coronavirus (COVID-19) restriction period
We recognise that many of our business customers will be impacted during the current COVID-19 restrictions. For businesses that process or prepare food, the following policy has been implemented to manage the risks to the environment and reduce the impact on businesses who are not able to operate at this time.
Businesses continuing to operate in any capacity
Grease trap clean out frequency remains the same as per Trade Waste Consent, in many cases every three months.
Businesses suspending operation
Clean out the grease trap at the next scheduled due date or sooner. When business resumes, your next clean out date is to be arranged for three months after operation recommences.
If you have any questions regarding tradewaste discharge, contact us on 5832 4800 and ask to talk to a Business Customer Service team member. We’re working from home and available to help.
We have stringent hygiene measures in place at our water treatment plants. In addition, there is almost no human contact in the process of treating water for drinking.
Existing water treatment and disinfection processes, including use of chlorine, are effective in removing viruses from water supplies.
Our water treatment plants are secure, have back-up power supplies, have a high level of automation and can be operated remotely.
We are well prepared for supply-chain impacts as a result of the wider industry response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the supply of chemical, parts and equipment.
We are also in contact with key government agencies to monitor and understand the health impact of COVID-19 as it develops.
Our staff are working to continue to provide essential water and wastewater services and our critical maintenance and repair programs are still underway. This ensures our services can continue to run smoothly and reduces the chances or bursts or leaks.
We’re taking a number of precautions – including social distancing and additional safety measures – to ensure the safety of our staff, their families and our customers while we work.
Generally works will be carried out on the street, not on your property but if you have any concerns, please contact us on 1800 454 500 at any time. We ask that you don’t approach our staff or contractors while they’re working, as they’re following social distancing guidelines to help keep everyone safe.
We try to keep any interruption to the water supply as short as possible, however we encourage you to make sure you have enough water stored to wash your hands frequently and for 20 seconds, or ensure you have sanitiser available
Our staff are working to continue to provide essential water and wastewater services and our critical maintenance and repair programs are still underway, including our ongoing water meter replacement program.
We’ll let you know if your meter is due to be replaced via a letter and SMS notification if we have your mobile phone listed. We’ll also give you the opportunity to opt out if you wish. We also ask that you let us know if you are isolating because of a suspected or positive confirmed test for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Most of the time works will be carried out on the street/footpath but we may need to access parts of your property to change your meter. If you are concerned about this and would prefer we didn’t come onto your property, you can opt out by phoning us anytime on 1800 454 500. We’ll come back another time to replace your meter.
Replacing your meter does involve an interruption to your water supply, but for most people this will be quite short – no more than 20 minutes. We encourage you to fill containers to use for handwashing, drinking or cooking during this time.
If we need to carry out essential maintenance or repairs, we may need to come on to your property. To keep our staff and communities safe under coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ll be taking extra precautions – additional hygiene and cleaning measures, as well as social distancing.
Our meter reading program is continuing as normal where there is easy access to meters. However, if your meter is difficult to access or inside your property, we may ask you to read it on our behalf. If that’s the case, we’ll give you more information on how to do that.
We’ll no longer knock on people’s doors as part of our meter replacement program, but you’ll receive a letter (and SMS notification if we have your number) advising you if works are planned and giving you the option to defer works if you’d prefer.
We’re still operating as normal to continue to supply essential water and wastewater services.
However, we have deferred some of our programs, particularly if the remaining works involve accessing sewer main manholes on private property – such as our sewer maintenance and rehabilitation programs. These will continue where we don’t require access to private property.
Water is an essential service and we are well prepared to manage our response to COVID-19.
We have enacted our pandemic and emergency response plans. An Incident Management Team is implementing our response based on the most current available information.
Regarding entering customer property, GVW employees generally do not need to enter customer property to maintain essential services like water supply and sewer. There may however be times when our staff need to access assets on your property to maintain service to you. At these times we ask that you maintain a reasonable distance from our staff and we will complete the work as soon as safely possible. We will not be entering your house until the threat of COVID-19 has reduced.
Current treatment methods at sewage treatment plants are expected to be sufficient to manage the COVID-19 virus.
We will continue to manage and treat sewage and trade waste properly and carefully to protect public health and the environment.
Our sewage treatment plants are secure, have back-up power supplies, have a high level of automation, and can be operated remotely.
Australia’s drinking water is among the safest and most highly regulated in the world. Water utilities supply safe, high quality drinking water to cities and regions across Australia.
The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council provide rigorous guideline values for water utilities to follow.