COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your local health department’s website.
There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans. EPA is providing this important information about COVID-19 as it relates to drinking water and wastewater to provide clarity to the public. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual. EPA also encourages the public to help keep household plumbing and our nation’s water infrastructure operating properly by only flushing toilet paper. Disinfecting wipes and other items should be disposed of in the trash, not the toilet.
Federal health officials are conducting studies on whether Omicron is more transmissible, causes more serious illness, or evades vaccine protection compared to other variants of the virus. Results are expected in the next few weeks.
“Omicron in Houston is cause for concern but not panic,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “It’s important to remember that vaccination is our best tool to reduce cases, prevent serious illness and death, and slow the emergence of new variants.”The health department routinely tests the city’s wastewater for the virus that causes COVID-19, including variants, and recently started testing samples for Omicron. People infected with COVID-19 shed the virus in their feces.
The wastewater data helps to more quickly identify emerging outbreaks and hotspots needing interventions to help stop the spread of the virus.
The size of COVID-19 virus particles is about 0.125 microns or 125 nanometers. RO filters usually have membranes with a minimum pore size of about 0.0001 microns. Therefore, they are 1000x smaller than these virus particles. Therefore, you can effectively trap bacteria and viruses larger than 0.0001 microns with an RO filter.
The virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in untreated wastewater. Researchers do not know whether this virus can cause disease if a person is exposed to untreated wastewater or sewerage systems. There is no evidence to date that this has occurred. At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through properly designed and maintained sewerage systems is thought to be low.
Researchers have analyzed the available information which suggest that standard municipal and individual septic systemexternal icon wastewater treatment practices should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC is reviewing information on COVID-19 transmission as it becomes available. Guidance will be updated as new evidence is assessed.
A specialized form of water filtration, a reverse osmosis system gives you purified water from the tap with a simple DIY set-up. Installing a reverse osmosis system can eliminate concern over the most common water contaminants and reduce dependency on plastic water bottles. These multiple-stage water filtration systems remove up to 99 percent of total dissolved solids (TDS) from your water supply, providing water that tastes fresh and is clean from contaminants.
While there are plenty of water filtration options on the market, a reverse osmosis system uses a specialized filter that is so fine virtually nothing but water molecules can squeeze through. Tankless RO systems filter water on-demand and have less water waste, while typical units hold purified water in a storage tank. When comparing options for a reverse osmosis system, check out the clean-to-waste water ratio, the size of the container or storage tank, and the speed of filtration to find a model that can meet your needs. Also consider whether you want a system with a re-mineralization filter, which adds back in beneficial amounts of calcium and magnesium.