Can COVID-19 get in my drinking water?

Now that we’re several months into the outbreak of COVID-19, we have more clarity than we did when the novel coronavirus first hit the United States. We know the main causes of transmission are through respiratory or direct contact - meaning it can spread via droplets released by someone with the virus when they cough, sneeze or talk, or you can be infected by touching a surface contaminated by the virus.

However, because this is a new disease, our knowledge about it is constantly changing and updating. We still have a lot of questions. People want to know: Can coronavirus spread through water? Should I drink tap water?

Water treatment facilities disinfect water to prevent public health problems

COVID-19 is less stable in the environment and as a result vulnerable to disinfects. Water treatment facilities have strict processes in place to filter and disinfect water before it goes into your home and these standard, centralized water treatment methods are effective in removing the virus. The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water.

Can I safely drink water from my kitchen sink?

It’s reassuring to know that the San Antonio Water System meets strict state and federal standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

SAWS has let local residents know that they don’t have to run out and buy bottled water. The water in San Antonio is safe to drink due to the combination of the quality of the source water, the process of constantly disinfecting with chlorine and the practice of chlorine testing every day. SAWS provides regular updates to reassure you that the virus is not being transmitted through our public water system.

According to the EPA, the risk to water supplies is low. Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual. However, in areas where centralized treatment does not take place, household water treatments should be used, such as: boiling the water; using high-performing, ultra or nanofiltration filters; or solar irradiation.

Best practices to stay healthy

We know that we don’t have to fear COVID-19 in our drinking water, so let’s focus on continuing to follow best practices to avoid catching the virus from others. This new virus continues to be a health threat and we shouldn’t let our guard down. Until a vaccine is available or until COVID-19 is no longer present in our community, we need to practice these behaviors in an effort to remain as healthy as possible:

  • Practice physical distancing from others of at least 6 feet.
  • Wear a mask in public when you can’t distance yourself properly.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Continue to disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home and work.

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