Media releases

Mar 20 / Helix Water Service Will Continue Uninterrupted During Stay-At-Home Order

Helix Water District customers will continue to receive uninterrupted water service while California’s statewide stay-at-home order is in effect.

Californians are required to stay home unless they need to maintain the operation of critical infrastructure, which includes water systems, due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

“As providers of a critical service, all district employees take on the role of first-responders during emergencies,” said Helix Water District General Manager Carlos Lugo. “Our priority is to keep everyone safe while continuing to deliver safe and reliable water to our customers.”

The district activated its Emergency Operations Plan in March to ensure continuity of water delivery, and has worked with its vendors to prioritize the delivery of vital supplies. Staff who are critical to operations and maintenance continue to report to work, with rotations and social distancing measures in place. Noncritical staff are telecommuting to minimize the potential for virus transmissions.

Further details are available on the district’s website at hwd.com.

Release – Helix Water District Water Service Will Continue Uninterrupted During Statewide Stay-at-Home Order (PDF)

Helix Water District provides water treatment and distribution for 277,000 people in the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, the community of Spring Valley and areas of Lakeside — east of downtown San Diego. Helix also provides treated water to neighboring Padre Dam, Otay and Lakeside water districts.

Mar 19 / Helix Suspends Late Fees and Water Shutoffs to Help Customers During Pandemic

March 19, 2020 Press Release 

At their March 18, 2020 meeting, Helix Water District’s Board of Directors voted to temporarily suspend late fees and water shutoffs for nonpayment in an effort to support its customers facing financial challenges during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We recognize that many of our customers are facing financial hardships as a result of the pandemic and the related school and business closures,” said Helix Water District Board President Mark Gracyk. “We want to help by making sure that all of our customers have access to safe, clean water during this public health emergency. As we all know, handwashing is one of the best ways to limit the spread of the virus.”

The district’s temporary suspension of late fees and shutoffs for nonpayment is effective March 19 through April 30. The board will reassess whether to extend those dates in April.

District staff will continue to read meters and generate water bills during this time, and outstanding balances for accounts that run past the disconnection date will be due once the temporary suspension expires. The district encourages customers to continue to pay their bills on time but wanted to take this extraordinary measure to support those customers who are experiencing financial stress due to impacts of the pandemic.

Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their water bills are encouraged to contact the district’s customer service team at 619-466-0585 to make payment arrangements.

“Our water supply is safe,” said Helix Water District Director of Water Quality Brian Olney. “There is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through treated water. Our water treatment process includes disinfecting the water with ozone to chemically deactivate and physically remove viruses, bacteria and other organisms.”

To ensure continuity of water delivery, the district has enacted its Emergency Operations Plan and has worked with its vendors to prioritize the delivery of vital supplies. Staff critical to operations and maintenance will continue to report to work, with rotations and social distancing measures in place. Noncritical staff will telecommute to minimize the potential for virus transmissions.

Additionally, all nonessential district construction work that would require water shutoffs has been temporarily suspended.

District facilities are closed to the public until further notice to protect both staff and customers. Customer service remains available at 619-466-0585 during business hours.

Release – Helix Water District Suspends Late Fees and Shutoffs to Support Customers During the Coronavirus Pandemic (PDF)

Helix tap water is safe to drink

Helix wants to reassure the east county residents, businesses and public institutions we serve that Coronavirus (Covid-19) has no impact on the safety and quality of their tap water.

Our water treatment process includes disinfecting the water with ozone to chemically deactivate and physically remove viruses, bacteria and other organisms. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is susceptible to ozonation. We collect and analyze 200 water samples a day to ensure the effectiveness of our treatment process and the safety of our drinking water.

It is also important to note that there is no evidence that Coronavirus is transmitted through water. Click on the link below to see the State of California’s fact sheet on Coronavirus, water treatment and the safety of tap water.

SWRCB Fact Sheet – Water Quality & Coronavirus

Your water service is reliable

We are doing everything we can to protect the health of our staff to ensure the reliability of your water service. In addition, we stopped all maintenance-related water shutoffs over the next two weeks, with the exception of private development projects and school projects that must be completed during spring break. Project schedules are subject to change. Water will be available to customers impacted by these projects.

To ensure continuity of water delivery, the district has enacted its Emergency Operations Plan and has worked with its vendors to prioritize the delivery of vital supplies. Staff critical to operations and maintenance will continue to report to work, with rotations and social distancing measures in place. Noncritical staff will telecommute to minimize the potential for virus transmissions.

Our lobbies are closed

Out of concern for our customers and staff, we have closed our administration office lobby in La Mesa and our operations center lobby in El Cajon. If you need assistance, please call Customer Service at 619-466-0585.

How to pay your water bill

If you pay your water bill in person, please use one of these alternative payment methods.

Use our payment dropbox
We accept cash, checks and money orders in our payment dropbox, which is located in the parking lot at our administration office at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. Write your name and address number on an envelope, seal your payment inside and drop the envelope in the dropbox during business hours.

Pay online
Click Log In in our main menu and One Time Pay on our customer self service portal. Pay from your checking account or with a credit/debit card. Our Ultimate guide to paying your water bill online provides step-by-step instructions and videos.

Pay by phone
Call 855-276-8053

Mail a check
Mail your payment to:
Helix Water District
7811 University Avenue
La Mesa, CA, 91942

Customer shutoffs and late fees are suspended

As of March 18, 2020, Helix Water District’s board of directors voted to temporarily suspend water shutoffs for nonpayment in an effort to support customers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The policy is effective March 19 through April 30. The board will reassess whether to extend those dates in April.

District staff will continue to read meters and generate water bills during this time, and outstanding balances for accounts that run past the disconnection date will be due once temporary suspension expires. Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their water bills due to the pandemic are encouraged to contact the district’s customer service team at 619-466-0585 to make payment arrangements.

Board meetings will continue

Board members and the public can access meetings by conference call.  The call-in number and access code will be at the top of each meeting agenda. Agendas are posted on our website homepage and on our board meetings webpage.

Lake Jennings is closed

Lake Jennings will remain closed until at least April 23 and will reopen when public health conditions allow:

  • The recreation portion of the lake is currently closed.
  • There is no day use access to the lake, trails, boating or fishing to the public at this time.
  • Trout stocking is currently suspended for the months of March and April.
  • The campground will not accept new reservations through the end of April.
  • All incoming camping reservations have been cancelled through April 19th.

Events are cancelled

Helix Water District
Helix Water Talks on May 2 is cancelled.

Lake Jennings

  • New Moon Fishing on March 21 is cancelled.
  • Spring Carnival on April 4 is cancelled.
  • Spring Break April 3-19 is cancelled.
  • We will update customers on the Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest at a later date.

The Water Conservation Garden
All events and workshops are cancelled.

How we can protect each other

Stay home when you’re sick
If you have a fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion or shortness of breath, please stay home.

Wash your hands frequently
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

Clean frequently-touched surfaces
Use cleaning sprays and disinfectant wipes on door handles, countertops, telephones and keyboards.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow
Cover your mouth and nose.

Learn more about Coronavirus
We recommend monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and the County of San Diego for the latest news and updates.

Questions

Please contact Customer Service at 619-466-0585.