Can Coronavirus Spread Through Drinking Water?
Modern water treatment plants are already equipped to remove pathogens, including viruses, through filtration and disinfection. Recent testing by numerous water districts around the country, including those served by SUEZ North America, have found no presence of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in treated water samples.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have found no evidence that the Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are present in, or transmitted through, drinking-water sources—that is, the groundwater and surface water from which treatment plants draw their water.
Here’s some of the science behind their reassurances: The SARS-CoV-2 virus is an enveloped virus, with a fragile outer membrane. Generally, enveloped viruses are less stable in the environment and are more susceptible to oxidants, such as chlorine. Even in non-treated water, enveloped viruses become inactivated significantly faster than non-enveloped viruses. Heat, high or low pH, sunlight and common disinfectants, such as chlorine, all help destroy the virus.
SUEZ water treatment steps to kill Coronavirus
As always, SUEZ monitors water at every stage of the treatment and distribution process. SUEZ’ multi-layered treatment methods—already in place—include filtration, reverse osmosis, chemical treatment, and in some instances, UV irradiation systems, which disinfect by inactivating pathogenic microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. We will continue our rigorous monitoring and testing.
How is SUEZ keeping communities safe?
SUEZ has comprehensive plans in place to ensure that service continues despite the Coronavirus global health crisis. The company is monitoring state and national advisories regarding COVID-19 and following guidance from the CDC and local health and emergency response agencies. We will adapt plans as necessary to minimize the risk of exposure for customers and employees, and we will remain in full communication with our customers.
As an additional precaution to protect the health and safety of customers and employees, SUEZ offices are temporarily closed to the public. Customers who pay their bills in person at SUEZ offices must now pay their bills online, by mail, by phone or at third party payment centers. The company will also not shut off service to any customers for the duration of this crisis.
Learn more about SUEZ’ Coronavirus response
Drinking water safety and uninterrupted service remain top priorities. For more information about the steps SUEZ is taking to keep you safe, billing information, or for other updates during this health crisis, see Maintaining Service During Crisis.
About SUEZ in North America
SUEZ North America operates across all 50 states and Canada with 3,000 employees dedicated to environmental sustainability and smart and sustainable resource management. The company provides drinking water, wastewater and waste collection service to 6.7 million people on a daily basis; treats 560 million gallons of water and 460 million gallons of wastewater each day; delivers water treatment and advanced network solutions to 16,000 industrial and municipal sites; processes 160,000 tons of waste for recycling; rehabilitates and maintains water assets for more than 6,000 municipal and industrial customers; and manages $4.1 billion in total assets. The company posted revenues of $1.1 billion in 2018 and is a subsidiary of Paris-based SUEZ.
Since the end of the 19th century, SUEZ has built expertise aimed at helping people to constantly improve their quality of life by protecting their health and supporting economic growth. With an active presence on five continents, SUEZ and its 90,000 employees strive to preserve our environment’s natural capital: water, soil, and air. SUEZ provides innovative and resilient solutions in water management, waste recovery, site remediation and air treatment, optimizing municipalities’ and industries’ resource management through “smart” cities and improving their environmental and economic performance. The Group delivers sanitation services to 64 million people and produces 7.1 billion m3 of drinking water. SUEZ is also a contributor to economic growth, with more than 200,000 jobs created directly and indirectly on an annual basis, and a provider of new resources, with 4.2 million tons of secondary raw materials produced. By 2030, the Group is targeting 100% sustainable solutions, with a positive impact on our environment, health and climate. SUEZ generated total revenue of €18.0 billion in 2019.