Covid-19 And Your Water

Should we be worried about this virus in our water? The answer is both yes, and no. First the good news. It is highly unlikely that you will contract any virus from municipal drinking water. While many consumers don’t like having chlorine in their water, when it comes to viruses, this compound is our best friend.

By analytical standards viruses at best have a moderate tolerance to chlorine. From memory the most resistant ones can tolerate up to 0.5 ppm of this disinfectant, or as we water doctors call it, sanitant. The EPA allows municipal water suppliers to ad up to 4 ppm to the water. Happily, this level of chlorine easily kills viruses. So, if your drinking water is provided by a regulated water provider, it is highly unlikely that you will ever find a virus in your glass.

For those who have private wells the risk of virus contamination may be a bit higher, but not much. Well-water is generally cool, coming in at 50º F – 60° F, and it generally is void of any organisms or debris that a virus could feed upon. Viruses are not usually found here either.

The caveat of course is that if non-chlorinated water is allowed to stand open to the atmosphere then it can become contaminated from the surrounding atmosphere, and in theory a virus could grow and proliferate. In general, organisms thrive in non-chlorinated water, so if you are using a home filter with Granular Activated Carbon inside, you are creating non-chlorinated drinking water. If that is the case it is good not to let the filtered water stand in a glass or pitcher for more than a couple hours. Refrigerating it will help keep it virus free as well.

Just remember, when water is in an open container it is immediately susceptible to contamination. The risk with non-chlorinated water is much higher. Still, even with these caveats, it is highly unlikely that you will consume a virus in your water.

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