CHRIS DUQUE — Nederland is stronger than this pandemic

Published 12:28 am Saturday, May 2, 2020

Over the past several weeks, our lives and community have been shocked by a disaster unlike anything we have faced (and overcome) before.

The impact and response are alien to us.

With hurricanes, tropical storms, ice storms, industrial explosions, we have not had to close businesses, end the school year early, stay away from our family and friends, etc.

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At the City, the response to this disaster has been unique – City buildings have been closed to the public, City services have been limited or modified, and, unfortunately, progress on the disaster response is difficult to visualize or measure.

While this disaster is unique, the effort and response from the City’s first responders has been at the highest level.

Weeks ago, the City’s first responders (police, fire, and dispatchers) coordinated efforts to ensure calls for service were completed while ensuring the health and safety of the first responders and the public.

This has been challenging, but public safety is maintained.

We want to thank the vendors who have helped keep the public safety complex and fleet of vehicles disinfected and clean.

We also want to thank the local businesses and citizens who have lavished the police officers, fire fighters and dispatchers with meals.

Nederland has consistently shown its support and appreciation of our first responders.

In addition to Nederland first responders, employees at the Water Treatment Plant, Wastewater Treatment Plant and Solid Waste have continued to work and provide necessary services.

Their efforts ensured the water supply was safely maintained, sewer services continued, garbage cans are emptied and trash was picked up.

We want to remind the public that rags, clothing and baby wipes are not flush-able and even “flushable wipes” can clog your sewer line.

Many people at home have used this time to clean their attic, closets and garage, which has resulted in more trash being placed at the curb for pick up.

The City is working to keep up with this spike in trash.

The mantra of emergency management is “pray for the best, plan for the worst,” which is what we are doing.

At this time, it is difficult to determine whether we are going through the height of this disaster or whether we are near the end of the worst of this disaster.

But I know that the Nederland is stronger than this pandemic. In past disasters, we have seen this strength — families comforting their family members, neighbors helping neighbors, customers supporting businesses, churches praying for the community and strangers aiding one another.

That spirit and resiliency are why I have no doubt that Nederland will overcome this.

Chris Duque is city manager for Nederland. He can be reached at