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Drinking Water Standards and Water Quality
The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, does not impact the quality and supply of your local tap water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is transmitted person to person, not through water. Your water is both safe and available by turning on the tap. Residents can trust their local water supply and may limit their need to stockpile water. Emergency preparedness encourages a 2-week supply in the case of a major disruption in water sources; however, in this situation emergency water supplies are not a concern.
Tap water is regulated for safety by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and must meet stringent state and federal drinking water quality standards. Water treatment plants that provide water must be tested multiple times per day. Every water provider within our region and the country at large is required to provide customers with detailed water quality reports to assure EPA compliance.
In the San Gabriel Valley, your water providers monitor water quality every step of the way, from source to tap. They are committed to providing customers with safe and reliable water. They have used several treatment techniques to eliminate pathogens, which include viruses. This ensures safe drinking water for all residents and customers.
With the coordination of local water agencies and partners, the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, and Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, these measures have been effective in providing a water supply that meets and exceeds drinking water standards set by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.
The California State Water Resources Control Board has issued a public notice to not discard “flushable” wipes, facial tissues, baby wipes, sanitation wipes, paper towels and similar products in the toilet. Wastewater treatment facilities around California may get overwhelmed and have already reported issues with their collection systems and in-home plumbing blockages.
Read the California State Water Resources Control Board News Advisory.
Water Related Links and Fact Sheets
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Water Transmission and COVID-19
• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Coronavirus and Drinking Water
• World Health Organization (WHO) Water and Sanitation
• California Department of Public Health
• Metropolitan Water District Response to COVID-19
Health and Safety Tips
In accordance with the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during this national emergency, Upper District encourages the public to practice the following behaviors to help prevent the spread of the disease. Learning how the virus is transmitted and taking steps to protect yourself and your family is important and should be adhered.
• Protect Yourself and Your Neighbor
• Practice Social Distancing – at least 6 feet
• Clean Your Hands Often – at least 20 seconds
• Cover Coughs and Sneezes with Elbow
• Disinfect and Clean Surfaces Thoroughly
• Do Not Go Into Work if You’re Experiencing Illness
CDC: What to do if you’re sick
Water Information for Re-opening Buildings
The Upper District recognizes that the Coronavirus pandemic presents challenges for all sectors of the economy, including owners and operators of commercial buildings and businesses. Closures for weeks or months has reduced water usage yet could potentially lead to stagnant water inside building plumbing. Below are a few resources regarding water safety and re-opening businesses.
Center for Disease Control Prevention
Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use
Checklist: Restoring Water Quality in Buildings for Reopening (pdf)
International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)
“After COVID-19” Free Webinar Series on reopening various building types
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19 AND WATER SUPPLY
Can the COVID-19 coronavirus get into my water? The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, does not present a threat to the safety of Metropolitan’s treated water supplies. Metropolitan’s multi-step treatment process includes filtration and disinfection using ozone and chlorine. This advanced process removes and kills viruses, including coronaviruses, as well as bacteria and other pathogens. Ongoing monitoring demonstrates that Metropolitan’s treated water meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water standards and regulations, which require removal of over 99.99% of viruses. COVID-19 is transmitted person-to-person, not through water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Can Metropolitan continue treating and delivering water if COVID-19 spreads?
Metropolitan maintains an extensive system of reservoirs, water treatment plants, canals and pipelines to deliver safe and reliable water supplies to communities across Southern California. This system includes multiple layers of redundancy to ensure continued deliveries, even during a disruption. Metropolitan also maintains frequently tested plans and systems for emergency response and business continuity to guide operations, including responding to pandemic outbreaks.
To address the concerns about COVID-19, Metropolitan has taken several steps to protect the health of its employees, minimize potential exposure and avoid widespread impacts to our workforce. Metropolitan has also ensured it has the necessary backup equipment, supplies and treatment chemicals in the event of disruptions to the supply chain for these items. Metropolitan also continues to build its already robust supply of water in storage.
So why are people stockpiling bottled water?
General emergency preparedness encourages a two-week supply of bottled water in the event of a supply disruption. While other emergencies may necessitate backup water sources, water supplies are not a concern in this particular situation.
Where can I learn more about COVID-19 and water?
EPA: “Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual.”
CDC: “The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”