Coronavirus Resources and Guidance for Water Customers
In order to provide South Carolinians with information regarding the safety of drinking water and recreational waters and the sanitation of wastewaters, the below information and links provide resources and information from USEPA and CDC.
The key points from these resources are:
- The virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted:
- through the air by coughing and sneezing,
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands,
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through fecal waste has not been documented to-date.
- Viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 are more susceptible to disinfection and not very stable in the natural environment.
- Common disinfectants such as chlorine, already in use at many water treatment and all wastewater treatment facilities and pools and hot tubs, are effective in deactivation of the virus.
- There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by treated drinking water or treated wastewater according to the World Health Organization.
- There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of properly operated, maintained and disinfected pools and hot tubs.
- A properly designed, installed and functioning septic system is expected to be effective in safely managing the virus.
The Department recommends and encourages the continued use of tap water for drinking, cooking, bathing and other personal needs. The Department does not believe it necessary to purchase bottled water to have a safe potable supply relative to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Consumers that receive their water from a public water utility may contact that utility to learn more about the utility's treatment and disinfection processes. Homeowners with private wells who are concerned about pathogens such as viruses in their well water may consider installing certified home treatment devices that remove pathogenic organisms or performing well disinfection: https://scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/CR-003247.pdf.
Coronavirus Resources for Public Water and Wastewater Utilities, Public-Serving Pools, and Spas
In an effort to provide South Carolina’s water professionals with information and guidance about COVID-19, the Bureau of Water has compiled a listing of guidance and advice for water and wastewater professionals. The links below provide insight going forward as more details and guidance about COVID-19 are shared by EPA, CDC, and water research professionals.
USEPA & CDC Water Guidance
- EPA - Guidance for Waste & Wastewater - COVID-19
- CDC - Water Transmission and COVID-19
- EPA - Releases List of Disinfectants to Use Against COVID-19
- EPA Expands COVID-19 Disinfectant List
- EPA - Drinking Water Flushing Guidance
- CDC - Information for Sanitation & Wastewater Workers on COVID-19
- CDC - Waste Management QAs
- OSHA - COVID -19
Other Water Information
- Clemson - Water Systems Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Water Environment Federation – Water Professional’s Guide to COVID-19
- Water Environment Federation – Q&A: COVID-19
- University of Arizona – Survival of Coronaviruses in Water and Wastewater
- WHO - Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Waste Management for COVID-19
- Essential Infrastructure Workforce - Homeland Security
- EPA - Letter to Governors re: Essential Infrastructure Function
- CDC - Interim Guidance for Businesses & Employers
Regulatory Compliance Assistance
The Water Programs continue focus on protecting the public and the environment during this national and state emergency. However, we are also aware that this an extraordinary time. Consequently, as part of the overall approach of the Office of Environmental Affairs, the Water Programs will consider actions that may be taken to bring some degree of certainty to our permittees during this very impactful and uncertain period. The overview of this initiative can be found here and includes an e-mail address to submit requests for regulatory relief consideration due to the COVID-19 pandemic: firstname.lastname@example.org.