Can the Coronavirus COVID-19 Be Spread Through Municipal Water Supplies?

Can the Novel Coronavirus spread through municipal or drinking water systems?

As of now, the COVID-19 virus has not been found in municipal water systems. Municipalities treat water in several ways, typically with disinfection, filtration, flocculation and other means. Removal and or inactivation COVID-19 should be achieved by standard municipal water treatment.

If the Coronavirus does find its way into the water system, how could facilities or homes be protected?  The non-chemical processes that best address the virus in water are below.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection System
  • Nanofiltration
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO)
  • Combination of UV and Microfiltration
  • Combination of UV and Nanofiltration or RO

What is the size of the COVID-19 virus?

It is roughly 120 nanometers (nm) in diameter.  Most viruses are between 20 and 300 nm. See particle size chart here. Being so small in size, most filters will not remove viruses. One of the least invasive ways to protect against most viruses and bacteria in your water system is likely a UV disinfection system to kill or inactivate the viruses.  Microfilter systems are useful upstream of UV systems as they aide the UV efficiency by filtering out small particles.  Microfilters can be sized small enough to remove all bacteria but are not small enough to take out most viruses.  For total virus removal a nanofiltration or reverse osmosis system must be used.