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. As a result, they’ve 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 Canadian 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 deactivated in the disinfection process. This typically occurs in under 10 minutes. Further, all Californian treatment facilities for surface water sources are required to maintain disinfection facilities sufficient to destroy giardia cysts. These cysts are much more resilient than viruses.
Then there is the inconvenient fact to water hoarders that COVID-19 is transmitted person to person. It is not transmitted via water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Protecting groundwater systems
California’s Fact Sheet notes that public water systems utilizing groundwater sources maintain protective physical measures. These include soil barriers to ensure water sources are protected from pathogens, including viruses. In addition, most of these systems use chlorine disinfection to inactivate any viruses or bacteria present in the water.
Then there is the fact that all California’s public water systems are routinely monitored for bacteria. This ensures 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, like other states, works closely with local water systems to ensure the safety of water flowing 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 your home faucets, rather than a bottle.
If all this doesn’t comfort you, know that the Federal Centers for Disease Control says, “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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