How safe is your drinking water during the pandemic?
Knowing that Covid cases are rising in Washington County and that the Covid virus has been found in wastewater, we wanted to know how that might affect the water we drink, and the secondary water used in irrigation. Virus concentrations in sewage can be measured by collecting a sample at the inlet of sewage treatment plants. This information provides a pooled indicator of the status and trends of COVID-19 infections in communities served by the treatment plant also known as the sewershed.
According to The Utah Department of Environmental Quality they are collecting samples at 42 sewage treatment plants in Utah, representing approximately 80% of the state’s population. The data from these samples provide an idea of how much Covid contamination enters the treatment plant and normalized to the number of people living in the sewershed. The data are updated regularly to provide additional information to public health partners regarding trends in virus prevalence in Utah’s communities. You can see the locations and results of each location at deq.utah.gov
We talked to Zach Renstrom director of the Washing County Water Conservation District. He assures us that the public drinking water is absolutely safe and free of the Covid-19 virus. Renstrom says, “We test for multiple pathogens in the water which includes viruses and we have not detected any pathogens in our drinking water. Our treatment process has multiple different stages and at several of those different stages it would kill any virus or bacteria present. So down here in Washington county I can assure people that Covid is not in the water and the drinking water here is safe.”
Renstrom said that the secondary water is also very safe and ran through a process that would definitely kill the Covid-19 virus as well.