SWANA is closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation and will continue to provide updates and guidance as warranted. Our current guidance is on the front page of the new SWANA website – which we launched on Monday. I encourage you to review our website and provide feedback on it.
On March 19, SWANA issued a press release to remind all state and local governments that solid waste management is an essential public service and that it should be included in emergency orders issued in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. It also includes information on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidance for municipal solid waste and recycling workers, SWANA’s guidance document, and recommendations on practices being put in place by solid waste organizations. In summary, any action that can be taken to increase social distancing and increase disinfection of common surfaces in the workplace should be implemented.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has subsequently issued a memoidentifying those who “ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste” as essential critical infrastructure workers. As more emergency declarations are issued at the state, provincial, and local level, please advise SWANA if any do not include solid waste management as an essential service. As these orders are issued, it would also be useful to crowdsource those that do include solid waste management for reference. Those can be sent directly to [email protected].
SWANA headquarters is not suspending or closing operations, and will continue to serve you and conduct SWANA business during this challenging time. In an effort to protect the health and well-being of our staff, we expanded our teleworking policy so that most SWANA employees could begin teleworking on Monday, March 16. The investments we’ve made in our technology infrastructure over the past few years allow SWANA staff to respond to your needs and questions without physically being in the office. We will assess the need to continue teleworking on a weekly basis and in the meantime, please be assured we are here to help. Please feel free to contact anyone on TeamSWANA, including me, should you need our assistance.
I also want to provide a few specific updates about upcoming events.
SWANApalooza in Atlanta has been postponed. We are in discussions with the Westin Peachtree Plaza concerning rescheduling the conference and will provide additional information to everyone as soon as possible. If you have questions concerning your SWANApalooza registration, please email us at [email protected]
We are assessing whether to postpone the SWANA Regional Training Centers (RTC) in Las Vegas, Chicago, Portland, and Providence, and will provide additional information to RTC registrants soon.
Several chapters have postponed conferences scheduled to take place in April, and additional postponements are likely. Please check the applicable chapter website for further information about these events.
Planning for WASTECON 2020: Embracing Disruption (December 7-10) in Dallas, Texas continues at full speed, including the issuance of a Call for Proposals last week. Please consider submitting a proposal by the April 20, 2020 deadline and make plans to attend this timely and important gathering of solid waste leaders.
We intend to hold weekly webinars on important topics (e.g., worker health and safety, PFAS) in April. Please be on the lookout for further information about these webinars, which will be a helpful way for us to connect with you during this difficult and challenging time.
I encourage you to monitor the CDC and Public Health Agency of Canada websites, as well as applicable provincial, state and local agency websites, for additional information and guidance relating to the Coronavirus. Further, I encourage you to share your management solutions on MySWANA.
Thank you for your continued understanding and support as we all try to navigate these uncharted waters. The SWANA community will get through this, together.
And most importantly, please stay safe and healthy.
Executive Director and CEO
Solid Waste Association of North America