COVID-19: Coronavirus in Well Water?
Updated: Aug 23, 2021
How Can I Protect my Well Water from Coronavirus? Could My Family Contract COVID-19 from Our Water Well?
These are questions we’ve gotten repeatedly from customers over the past three weeks. The current Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a rapidly evolving public health crisis. There is much we and global health and environmental agencies are learning daily about the spread of the pandemic. Uncertainty understandably justifies this abundance of caution and the same goes for managing the risk of viral contamination for the estimated 100 million Americans who obtain their water from a private well.
At this time, the Centers for Disease Control ("CDC") and Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA) state "for households relying on public/municipal water sources the risk of contracting a virus such as Coronavirus/COVID-19 from their water is low." However, this statement clearly pertains only to customers who rely on public or municipal water systems because there is a centralized water treatment plant actively treating and disinfecting the water being supplied to these households.
This fact has potentially serious implications for households relying directly on private water wells that lack treatment systems specifically designed to disinfect otherwise UNTREATED well water. For these American families, the official statements above do not apply and risk of potential exposure is UNKNOWN. Fortunately, what we do know is that specifically-designed disinfection methods such as Ultraviolet (UV) systems are effective against viruses and other waterborne pathogens while others such water softeners, for example, are not.
Currently, the CDC website says "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.”
The EPA also reminds us that it "...has established regulations with treatment requirements for public water systems that prevent waterborne pathogens such as viruses from contaminating drinking water and wastewater. Coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is a type of virus that is particularly susceptible to disinfection and standard treatment and disinfectant processes are expected to be effective.”
Owners of private residential wells lacking appropriate treatment/disinfection equipment or technology might be unwise to take comfort in these public safety statements because their water is not treated and therefore has the potential to contain harmful contaminants. Private well owners bear the responsibility of safeguarding the safety of their family’s water supply.
Should I Invest in a UV Disinfection System to Protect Against Viruses and Other Waterborne Pathogens in my Well Water?
We would argue that regardless of whether the current outbreak is eventually shown to survive and spread via water distribution systems of any kind, homeowners relying on well water should consider a UV filtration system if they are drinking, bathing, cooking or even brushing their teeth with untreated water. It is sometimes a poorly understood fact that a large number of contaminants from the environment including bacteria, viruses, enteroviruses, etc. are commonly found in groundwater, aquifers, and private wells just like yours.
The current crisis has increased awareness of sanitation and many residential well owners are now searching for ways to ensure their well water is safe from waterborne pathogens including viruses such as Coronavirus/COVID-19, E.Coli, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Norovirus, etc. We believe a UV system is the best choice to provide the assurance of clean, safe drinking water for your household.
The World Health Organization ("WHO") states "In places where centralized water treatment and safe piped water supplies are not available, a number of household water treatment technologies are effective in removing or destroying viruses." The WHO then lists a range of methods from boiling to UV.
How Does a UV System Protect my Water? And What About Chlorination for my Well Water?
A UV system is the most effective method for disinfecting harmful pathogens from your home’s water and destroying illness-causing microorganisms. Disinfecting your water with Ultraviolet light is exceptionally simple, effective and environmentally safe. Select UV systems are proven capable of destroying 99.99% of harmful microorganisms without adding chemicals or changing your water’s taste or odor. We would advise residential well owners to choose a UV solution over using chlorine or other chemicals. UV is the superior alternative not only because it is chemical-free. It's also low-maintenance and does not produce harmful chemical byproducts, and is more effective against a wider range of waterborne pathogens including Protozoa such as Cryptosporidium, which is a common microscopic parasite that is particularly resistant to chlorine. And in most cases, the investment required is less than or equal to complicated chlorination systems.
What is the Process for Installing a UV System for Well Water?
Prior to installing a UV system, a water test should be performed on your well water to identify potential bacteria, viruses, and contaminants such as chlorine, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds. From there, a qualified water quality contractor such as Safewelltech can determine if you require a UV system and the next steps to ensuring your household has access to clean and safe water.
Finally, please be aware that affordable "one size fits all" or "off the shelf" UV systems really do not exist, at least in our experience. This is due to the variability of circumstances, performance requirements, regulations, and economic/financial means of each installation. Additionally, many factors figure into the calculation of appropriate "UV dosage" relative to specified pathogenic threats. For these reasons Safewelltech encourages wellowners to consult and contract with qualified water experts when choosing a reliable UV treatment system that will provide adequate performance relative to site-specific factors present in the intended application(s).
For more information on well water contaminants and solutions please contact Safewell Technologies Inc. at 518-545-8085 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Safewelltech is an authorized dealer for Viqua UV water treatment systems and is a Viqua Certified UV Installer. Examples of custom UV systems built and installed by Safewelltech Water Systems appear below.
For information on Coronavirus/COVID-19 in drinking water, please refer to the CDC and EPA websites.