In recent days, the world has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has led many individuals to worry about their health and survival, as well as start panic-buying basic necessities. While we’ve all seen pictures, or experienced first-hand, supermarket shelves emptied of their toilet paper and cleaning supplies, the bottled water aisles have been cleared out too. People, it seems, are concerned about whether their drinking water is contaminated by the coronavirus and so have chosen to hoard the bottled stuff.
Here’s one area where there’s some good news.
Don’t Worry, It’s Safe
“The virus can be removed easily if water treatment professionals take proper precautions and risk considerations,” according to Cananian experts. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new variety of a coronavirus similar to SARS and MERS. It is an enveloped virus and these viruses do not survive easily in water. They can be removed and inactivated efficiently. (1).
The California State Water Board was recently quoted in a blog post on this very subject, in an effort to allay consumers’ fears.
“You cannot contract COVID-19 from drinking water,” stated California State Water Board. According to the State Water Resource Control Board Fact Sheet, California’s comprehensive and safe drinking water standards have treatment requirements that include filtration and disinfection. This removes and kills viruses, including coronaviruses such as COVID-19, as well as bacteria and other pathogens.
The California Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water, like those in all other states, establishes and enforces drinking water standards to ensure the delivery of pure, safe, and potable water. In addition to health-based water quality standards, treatment facilities must comply with stringent performance measures to ensure treatment processes are continuously operating at peak performance.
The water treatment process must destroy at least 99.99% of viruses, so the limited number that might pass through the removal process are quickly inactivated in the disinfection process, typically in less than 10 minutes. Further, all treatment facilities for surface water sources in California are required to maintain disinfection facilities sufficient to destroy giardia cysts, which are much more resilient than viruses.
Then there is the inconvenient fact to water hoarders that COVID-19 is transmitted person to person, not through water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
California’s Fact Sheet notes that public water systems that utilize groundwater sources maintain protective physical measures, including soil barriers, to ensure that water sources are protected from pathogens, including viruses. In addition, most of these systems use chlorine disinfection to inactivate viruses or bacteria that might find their way into the water.
Then there is the fact that all public water systems in California are routinely monitored for bacteria to ensure that water delivered to customers is free of disease-causing agents. There are warnings and sometimes some expensive fines to those that do not comply.
Water operators monitor factors such as temperature, pH, turbidity, chlorine residual, electrical conductivity, lead and copper, corrosion indices and disinfection byproducts. Changes in these can alert operators to changes in water quality and enable them to avert potential problems.
The California Water Board, again like other states, works closely with local water systems to ensure the safety of water that flows through public water systems to residential customers. (2)
Tap Water Is Critical to Disinfection
Probably the biggest favor anyone can do during the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay home, wash your hands with hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. All of which can be done using the water that comes out of the water taps in your home, and not necessarily from a bottle.
If all this doesn’t comfort you, then know that the Federal Centers for Disease Control says that “The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.” (2)
Affinity Chemical provides great resources for water treatment
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