Amidst the COVID-19 scare, toilet paper hoarding and hand sanitizer hoarding, Aquality Water Management (AWM) are managing to stay healthy and serve our clients.
These are trying times for everyone throughout the country and the world and we want to assure our current and future clients we’re doing everything to keep everyone and everything safe. As you may well know these newer forms of viruses can be very aggressive and this latest stain is proving to be a real doozey.
AWM has been able to keep all our employees COVID-19 free so far and are here to serve you with any water or wastewater solutions you may require.
Our latest efforts with one of our clients required a work around solution in order to be present on an interview panel. We were able to still support them and be there through “Go to Meeting” app, without physically needing to be there – real social distancing.
The following articles are something we came across with respect to the Corona Virus as it relates to water and wastewater:
CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
How is Coronavirus spread? – Most often, Coronaviruses spread from person-to-person during close contact, and person-to-person spread is thought to mainly occur via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Close contact generally does not include brief interactions, such as walking past a person.
It is currently unknown if viral particles can be aerosolized from water or suspended into air after settling and remain infective, according to WEF.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, there is currently no evidence to support airborne transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Is Coronavirus present in wastewater? – Recent information suggests that COVID-19 may be transmitted through the fecal-oral route. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that workers handle solid waste contaminated with Coronavirus as they would other regulated Category B medical waste.
Previous studies investigating persistence of coronavirus surrogates and SARS in wastewater highlight that in the absence of disinfection, the virus can survive in wastewater from hours to days.
According to WEF, wastewater workers do not need to take special precautions.
Despite this, workers are advised to follow routine practices to prevent exposure to wastewater, including using the engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices and personal protection equipment (PPE) normally required for work tasks when handling untreated wastewater.
Growing concerns – According to WEF, absenteeism could affect drinking water and wastewater system operators and their capability to operate and maintain their systems adequately, thereby increasing the risks to public health.
In the event of a severe pandemic, absenteeism would increase from illness, the fear of infection and the need to care for ill family members. Absenteeism would also affect workers from other essential and interdependent sectors such as the transportation, power and chemical sectors. This could ultimately adversely impact services such as delivery of chemicals and other essential materials and supplies.
WHAT WE KNOW TODAY
Currently, there is no evidence that coronavirus survives the disinfection process for drinking water and wastewater.
- The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water.
- The risk of transmission through feces is expected to be low based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
- At this time, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low.
No coronavirus-specific protections are recommended for employees involved in wastewater management operations, including those at wastewater treatment facilities.
- Water resource recovery facility operations should ensure workers follow routine practices to prevent exposure to wastewater. These include using engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) normally required for work tasks when handling untreated wastewater.
- Water workers should
- wear appropriate PPE, which includes protective outerwear, gloves, boots, and goggles or face shield masks
- wash their hands frequently; and
- avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.