Coronavirus in the water supply
Should we be overly concerned about COVID-19 in our drinking water?
The answer to that may vary according to who you ask.
Per the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 has not been found in our drinking water sources and the actual risk of COVID-19 tainted water is low; however, some researchers are advocating for further research to identify new methods of keeping COVID-19 out of the water cycle.
Additionally, they argue that developed countries can fund the filtration programs in the developing world to help deter additional COVID-19 epidemics across the globe.
In an editorial for the Environmental Science Water Research & Technology, a prominent ecological publication in the UK, they write that the virus can be transmitted in fine water droplets that enter the air via spraying or evaporation.
Further stating, “It is now clear to all that globalization also introduces new health risks. Where water and sanitation systems are not adequate, the risk of finding novel viruses is very high. In a responsible and ideal scenario, the governments of developed countries must support and finance water and sanitation systems in developing countries, in order to also protect the citizens of their own countries.”
Other research suggests that the new coronavirus may also colonize biofilms (a thin layer of bacterial growths which line pipes in many older water systems), making showerheads a possible target of aerosolized transmission. This type of transmission is considered to be a significant pathway to bacteria that cause disease, like Legionnaire’s.
Although there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 that were caused by sewage spills, the coronavirus is closely linked to the one that caused SARS. In the 2003 Hong Kong outbreak of SARS, sewage leakage triggered a cluster of infections via aerosolization, so infection may be possible along this path.
While common household filters can remove various pathogens, chemical and Ultraviolet Disinfection systems are likely the most reliable means of eliminating microorganisms from our water supply. Ultraviolet Disinfection functions by killing viruses via exposure to powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays, irradiating water as it passes through a glass sleeve housing the light source.
Considering the low risk and absence of any known cases, concerns over this particular method of transmission are understandably low, at this time. While there are countless reasons to protect your health and your water with a high-quality water filter system, according to most experts, COVID-19 is not among them.