COVID-19 & Water

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Posted on March 24, 2020

COVID-19 & Water

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the virus’s potential transmission and/or persistence in drinking water and wastewater are being asked.


Based on interim guidance issued by the World Health Organizationon March 19, 2020, there is currently no evidence about the survival of the COVID-19 virus in drinking water or sewage.  It goes on to say that the virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies, and based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low.


This interim guidance also states that 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. It also points out that other human coronaviruses have been shown to be sensitive to chlorination and disinfection with ultraviolet (UV) light.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have also issued similar guidance. It can be found using the links below:

The National Association of Water Companies, the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies have also issued a joint statement reassuring the public about the safety of tap water.

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