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Covid 19 and Drinking water. Potential risks and everything you should know

1. COVID Overview

The COVID-19 Virus pandemic has created a lot of fear, anxiety and questions about what is safe and what could be a source of infection. Most of the scientific data points to the fact that airborne virus, passed from infected persons through coughing and sneezing, is the primary cause of infection. Surfaces that have been contaminated could certainly pass the virus on if the virus is inhaled in high enough quantities, however the risk of infection from surfaces seems to be much lower. However, what about our drinking water, can COVID spread through water, is it a potential source of contamination?

2. How Long Can the COVID Virus Survive in Water?

The COVID-19 virus is capable of living anywhere from several hours to several days in our water sources. But the more specific question is whether it can be transmitted to humans through contaminated water.

3. Can Covid Spread Through Water?

Fear and misinformation have led us to wonder, can COVID be spread through the water or other things we need daily? If COVID-19 were to enter our water in high enough concentrations it is possible for it to infect that water’s consumers. However, evidence resulting from studies of the virus shows that the viral concentration would need to be very high, much higher than is possible in our public water supplies or even in most private water wells. Studies have shown that if and when the virus should get into water, the small concentration of the virus is swiftly diluted by the large amount of water. This dilution of the COVID-19 virus renders it too weak to infect a human body. Much larger concentrations of the virus would be necessary for infection to take place.

4. Another Potential Threat to Your Water from the Pandemic

Although the risk of catching COVID-19 from drinking a glass of water or going for a swim is minimal or almost impossible, there is another potential threat to our water supply that has resulted from the virus. This threat has the potential to impact the quality and safety of our drinking water in the months ahead.

The issue arises from when we quarantine. In quarantine we stay away from businesses, offices, churches, libraries, and other places where we usually congregate. These businesses and public places have now been shut down for months and months. And a new water threat awaits us when we return to our office buildings, places of worship, schools, shops, etc. The problem is that when there is no water flushing through the plumbing, conditions in the pipes can cause unsafe water conditions.

Without a regular flow of water moving through your pipes, stagnant water sits in your plumbing and storage tanks. Even though your water was likely disinfected at its source, during the months the water sits, those chemicals have dissipated into the atmosphere. The lack of these disinfecting chemicals may lead to the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and microbes. Depending on the water system’s age, size and construction materials this can lead to rapid and dangerous multiplication of these harmful bacteria. In addition, corrosion and rust in the pipes can result in the presence of heavy metals, such as lead or nickel, in the water.

As the stay-at-home orders come to an end, it is important for businesses to be concerned about the quality of their water when they reopen to employees and the public. Water companies may be responsible for delivering safe drinking water from the source, but business owners are responsible to make sure that the water coming from their pipes does not pose health risks to its people.

5. How to Ensure Water is Safe to Drink

The good news is that based on reports from the CDC and the EPA, our water sources have very little risk of contamination leading to infection by the COVID-19 virus. However, the bigger concern for businesses with offices, public gathering places, etc., that have shut down, is the potential for contaminated water from stagnation and corrosion during the shutdown months.

To be proactive about protecting your employees and patrons, you’ll want to test your building’s water before it reopens. Water testing is how you can ensure the water at your place of business is safe to drink and there are two rather simple water testing options for you. One option is to obtain a simple do-it-yourself kit that will test for the presence of the most common contaminants or you can contact a laboratory for a more thorough full analysis report.

Most do-it-yourself test kits supply you with a variety of test strips that you can dip into a sample of your drinking water. These test strips use chemical reagents that will quickly reveal the presence of the specific contaminant they test for. Testing with these strips is an easy, safe, and economical way to test your water quality. The easy-to-follow instructions will produce a color on the strips that you will then compare to the color-coded chart provided so that you can determine the levels of heavy metal(s) and other contaminants in your water.

In the second option of contacting a laboratory, a lab technician will come out to take samples and bring them back to the lab with them, or you will be provided with collection bottles to take samples of your water on your own and return the samples you get to the lab through the mail. These laboratory collection kits give much more precise results, analysis and suggestions for remediation than a do-it-yourself test kit would produce. These kits include everything you normally need to gather water samples and return them to a certified lab for testing. When the lab receives your water samples, they will follow their standard test procedures that have been specifically engineered to identify the presence of a wide range of potential contaminants.

6. Conclusion

When you are at the point of wondering, can COVID spread through water? And when your biggest business concern is how to ensure water is safe to drink for employees and patrons at your office location, you need some peace of mind that only a superior environmental testing laboratory can offer. Don’t take chances with the health of your employees, clients and customers, get you water tested by an environmental testing laboratory. This is how to ensure water is safe to drink for your people.