Vancouver Public Works field staff to resume some on-site activities for low-risk construction & maintenance

City of Vancouver Public Works will resume some on-site activities supporting low-risk construction activities, as well as maintenance duties for protecting community assets and continued operations, following Gov. Jay Inslee’s recent modifications to COVID-19 executive orders. Some Public Works field staff, such as inspectors and surveyors, will be returning to street and utility construction projects that have met the requirements for restarting under statewide orders.

Public Works Operations crews are resuming neighborhood street sweeping, and those street, stormwater, water and sewer maintenance activities needed to preserve public assets and meet environmental regulations. Meanwhile, Vancouver Public Works continues its primary community health and safety focus of providing clean drinking water and safe public sewer systems, keeping streets and signals functioning properly, assisting Utility customers and supporting public safety in emergencies. Importantly, these activities allow for physical distancing and/or utilize protections and procedures for employee and public health and safety.

Public Works’ health and safety measures include proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), increased physical distancing, additional sanitation procedures for facilities, vehicles and equipment, and more, in keeping with local, state and federal guidelines.

Many Public Works programs and facilities have been limited, postponed or closed as preventative measures to reduce the novel coronavirus’ impact. The City of Vancouver continues to monitor the evolving situation and respond to changes. Here are a few of the ways Vancouver Public Works continues to serve our community:

• City of Vancouver Utility customer service representatives are available to assist those who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 impacts. Customers are urged to reach out as soon possible for help with utility bill payment arrangements. Email or call 360-487-7999.

• Vancouver’s tap water is safe to drink. All of Vancouver’s water comes from underground aquifers and is provided to customers through a “closed” water system. The City’s water is regularly tested and meets all federal and state standards. In keeping with federal EPA and state Department of Health requirements, municipal water is treated with a trace amount of chlorine – a safe level that meets health standards for municipal water systems – as an extra precaution to guard against any potential contaminants, including viruses. More information is available here:

• Vancouver residents and businesses are reminded to never flush wipes, rags paper towels and other materials, as these cause sewage backups and clogged pipes in private plumbing and the public wastewater system. Only bodily fluids/waste and toilet paper should be flushed. Read more about why these products shouldn’t be flushed even if it says ‘flushable’ on the label.

• Vancouver Solid Waste has extended its Spring Coupon Program to July 31. The coupons have been sent to single-family residences with active Waste Connections’ accounts to assist with yard debris and tire disposal. Residents are encouraged to delay using the coupons if possible during this time. More detailed information is available at

• Though City offices are currently closed to the public, Urban Forestry reminds all that permits are still required for removing, planting or doing major pruning on trees along streets within the City of Vancouver. Removal of private trees could also require a permit, depending upon the site and other criteria.

For more information or assistance, please visit or email Vancouver Public Works’ updates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at and at

Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start