COVID-19

Q & A'S
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How to talk to kids about COVID-19



Source: www.epa.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-drinking-water-and-wastewater

Q: Is drinking tap water safe?
A: It is recommended that people continue to use and drink tap water as usual. Drinking water guidelines require treatment at public water systems to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses.

Q: Do I need to boil my drinking water?
A: Boiling your water is not required as a precaution against COVID-19.

Q: Do I need to buy bottled water or store drinking water?
A: It is recommended that people continue to use and drink tap water as usual. At this time, there are no indications that COVID-19 is in the drinking water supply or will affect the reliable supply of water.

Q: Can I get COVID-19 from wastewater or sewage?
A: There is no evidence to date that the COVID-19 virus has been transmitted via sewerage systems, with or without wastewater treatment.

Q: Do wastewater treatment plants treat COVID-19?
A: Yes, wastewater treatment plants treat viruses and other pathogens. COVID-19 is a type of virus that is particularly susceptible to disinfection. Standard treatment and disinfection processes at wastewater treatment plants are expected to be effective.

Q: Will my septic system treat COVID-19?
A: While decentralized wastewater treatment (i.e., septic tanks) do not disinfect, it is expected that a properly managed septic system will be able to treat COVID-19 the same way it safely manages the other viruses often found in wastewater. Additionally, when properly installed, a septic system is located at a distance and location designed to avoid impacting a water supply well.


Source: www.who.int/publications-detail/water-sanitation-hygiene-and-waste-management-for-covid-19

Q: Does the COVID-19 virus persist in drinking water?
A: While persistence in drinking water is possible, there is no current evidence from surrogate human coronaviruses that they are present in surface or groundwater source water or transmitted through contaminated drinking water. The COVID-19 virus is an enveloped virus, with a fragile outer membrane. Generally, enveloped viruses are less stable in the environment and are more susceptible to oxidants, such as chlorine. While there is no evidence to date about survival of the COVID-19 virus in water or sewage, the virus is likely to become inactivated significantly faster than non-enveloped human enteric viruses with known waterborne transmission (such as adenoviruses, norovirus, rotavirus and hepatitis A).

Q: How do we keep water supplies safe?
A: The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies, and based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. Laboratory studies of surrogate coronaviruses that took place in well-controlled environments indicated that the virus could remain infectious in water contaminated with feces for days to weeks. A number of measures can be taken to improve water safety, starting with protecting the source water; treating water at the point of distribution, collection or consumption; and ensuring that treated water is safely stored at home in regularly cleaned and covered containers.

Conventional, centralized water treatment methods that utilize filtration and disinfection should inactivate the COVID-19 virus. Other human coronaviruses have been shown to be sensitive to chlorination and disinfection with ultraviolet (UV) light. As enveloped viruses are surrounded by a lipid host cell membrane, which is not robust, the COVID-19 virus is likely to be more sensitive to chlorine and other oxidant disinfection processes than many other viruses, such as coxsackieviruses, which have a protein coat.

Q: How do we safely manage wastewater and fecal waste?
A: There is no evidence to date that the COVID-19 virus has been transmitted via sewerage systems with or without wastewater treatment. Furthermore, there is no evidence that sewage or wastewater treatment workers contracted severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is caused by another type of coronavirus that caused a large outbreak of acute respiratory illness in 2003. As part of an integrated public health policy, wastewater carried in sewerage systems should be treated in well-designed and well-managed centralized wastewater treatment works. Each stage of treatment (as well as retention time and dilution) results in a further reduction of the potential risk.


Source: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html

Q: Can the COVID-19 virus spread through drinking water?
A: 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.

Q: Is the COVID-19 virus found in feces?
A: The COVID-19 virus has been detected in the feces of some patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The amount of virus released from the body (shed) in stool, how long the virus is shed, and whether the virus in stool is infectious are not known.

The risk of transmission of COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person is also unknown. However, the risk is expected to be low based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as several acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). There have been no reports of fecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 to date.

Q: Can the COVID-19 virus spread through sewerage systems?
A: At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low. Although transmission of COVID-19 through sewage may be possible, there is no evidence to date that this has occurred. This guidance will be updated as necessary as new evidence is assessed.

SARS, a similar coronavirus, has been detected in untreated sewage for up to 2 to 14 days. In the 2003 SARS outbreak, there was documented transmission associated with sewage aerosols. Data suggest that standard municipal wastewater system chlorination practices may be sufficient to inactivate coronaviruses, as long as utilities monitor free available chlorine during treatment to ensure it has not been depleted.

Wastewater and sewage workers should use standard practices, practice basic hygiene precautions, and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as prescribed for current work tasks.

Q: Should wastewater workers take extra precautions to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus?
A: Wastewater treatment plant operations should ensure workers follow routine practices to prevent exposure to wastewater. These include using engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE normally required for work tasks when handling untreated wastewater. No additional COVID-19-specific protections are recommended for employees involved in wastewater management operations, including those at wastewater treatment facilities.