Besides some panic-buying shoppers going a little crazy buying toilet paper, they have also been seen clearing shelves of bottled water over concerns of unsafe drinking water from the coronavirus. Another coronavirus myth in the making right next to the one that drinking water every 15 minutes kills the virus.
According to the State Water Resource Control Board Fact Sheet, California’s comprehensive and safe drinking water standards have treatment requirements that include filtration and disinfection which removes and kills viruses, including coronaviruses such as COVID-19, as well as bacteria and other pathogens.
The State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water establishes and enforces drinking water standards that ensure the delivery of pure, safe, and potable water. In addition to health-based water quality standards, treatment facilities must comply with stringent performance measures to ensure treatment processes are continuously operating at peak performance. Now, as for the taste of the water, that is another matter altogether as anyone who has ever tasted the water out of the taps here in the Eastern Sierra with the water that comes out of the taps in Los Angeles can attest.
The water treatment process demanded by the state water board must destroy at least 99.99% of viruses, so the limited number that might pass through the removal process are quickly inactivated in the disinfection process, typically in less than 10 minutes, says the Fact Sheet.
The state water board site states that “All treatment facilities for surface water sources in California are required to maintain disinfection facilities sufficient to destroy giardia cysts, which are much more resilient than viruses.”
Then there is the inconvenient fact to water hoarders that COVID-19 is transmitted person to person, not through water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Fact Sheet notes that Public water systems that utilize groundwater sources maintain protective physical measures, including soil barriers, to ensure that water sources are protected from pathogens, including viruses. In addition, most of these systems use chlorine disinfection to inactivate viruses or bacteria that might find their way into the water.
Then there is the fact that all public water systems in California are routinely monitored for bacteria to ensure that water delivered to customers is free of disease-causing agents. There are warnings and sometimes some expensive fines to those that do not comply.
Lots of things monitored by alert water operators, such as temperature, pH, turbidity, chlorine residual, electrical conductivity, lead and copper, corrosion indices and disinfection byproducts can note changes in water quality conditions and avert potential problems.
The State Water Board works closely with local water systems to ensure the safety of water that flows through public water systems to residential customers. Look on your water bill for who is responsible for the water you receive in your home or business. Call them is you have any questions or concerns.
Probably the biggest favor anyone can do during the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay home, wash your hands with hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. All of which can be done by the water that comes out of the water taps in your home, and not necessarily from a bottle.
If all this doesn’t comfort you, then know that the Federal Centers for Disease Control says that “The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”