COVID-19 and drinking water and wastewater
Regarding drinking water, EPA advised that the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies and that Americans should continue to use tap water for drinking and handwashing as usual. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a type of virus that is particularly susceptible to disinfection and standard treatment, and disinfectant processes are, therefore, expected to be effective. EPA’s already-established treatment requirements for public water systems are designed to prevent waterborne pathogens, such as viruses, from contaminating drinking water. The World Health Organization (WHO) has further noted that “conventional, centralized water treatment methods which utilize filtration and disinfection should inactivate COVID-19 virus.”
Similarly, regarding wastewater, the WHO indicated that “there is no evidence to date that COVID-19 virus has been transmitted via sewerage systems, with or without wastewater treatment.” EPA notes that wastewater treatment plants treat viruses and other pathogens and that COVID-19 is a type of virus that is particularly susceptible to disinfection. Standard treatment and disinfectant processes at wastewater treatment plants are, therefore, expected to be effective. Additionally, regarding septic systems, EPA stated that while decentralized wastewater treatment systems, such as septic systems, do not disinfect, a properly managed septic system should treat COVID-19 the same way it safely manages other viruses often found in wastewater.