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How to Remove Viruses from Water (2020 Guide)

how to remove viruses from water

With the recent global spread of the Coronavirus which has resulted in being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, everyone is concerned about the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones.

Lots of people have been asking questions around transmission of the virus through water, municipal drinking water specifically.

So, can Coronavirus spread through water?

Transmission of the COVID-19 novel Coronavirus

The now infamous COVID-19, or more commonly known simply as Coronavirus, which causes mild to severe respiratory illness accompanied by cough, fever and difficulty breathing is passed through “community spread” from person to person primarily through air or surface contact.

This means when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes, the virus is expelled in minuscule respiratory droplets into the air.

The virus can also be spread if this person coughs into their hand then touches a surface. Currently the Coronavirus is known to be able to survive on surfaces for up to three days, depending on the surface material.

What happens with Coronavirus in water?

According to the CDC, as of now COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water, indicating that the virus is not being transmitted this way.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is committed to ensuring drinking water remains safe. This includes regulations that set disinfection and filtration requirements for municipal drinking water plants that remove and kill pathogens (including viruses).

Waterborne viruses still pose risk for many people

Nearly 25% of the world’s population consumes contaminated drinking water, which in turn becomes the cause for millions of people contracting disease in this way each year.

Contaminated drinking water contains viruses, bacteria and protozoa which cause a range of infections and diseases in people when ingested.

With the recent Coronavirus outbreak, many people have been looking for ways to make sure their drinking water doesn’t contain viruses or other pathogens. One of the most effective and inexpensive methods for removing waterborne pathogens, including viruses in drinking water is ultraviolet (UV) disinfection.

How to remove viruses from water in your home

A drinking water UV disinfection system effectively kills up to 99.99% of waterborne pathogens including bacteria and inactivating or destroying viruses.

The ultraviolet light in these systems disrupts the DNA of pathogens, rendering them inactive and making them non-infectious.

UV disinfection is widely used in municipal water treatment plants, but is becoming more and more popular for residential use as well.

People have been concerned about the risk that water is exposed to contaminants after it has already been treated at the local municipal water plant.

By installing a UV system in your house, you can have peace of mind that the water coming out of your tap is free of harmful viruses and other waterborne pathogens.

UV dose

The “dose” of UV light a water disinfection system uses is based on the contents of your water and what types of pathogens you are trying to remove.

UV dose = (intensity of UV light) x (exposure time)

Basically the UV dose is how intense the UV light is and for how long pathogens need to be exposed to it before they are destroyed.

Different pathogens will require different UV doses to be effectively removed. To this end, there are different UV disinfection systems for specific needs.

In order to properly calculate the UV dose you need for your home’s water, we recommend first testing your water so you know exactly what it contains. With the results, you will be well informed to know what type of system you need.

laboratory water testing

Effectiveness of UV Disinfection

There are a number of factors that can impact the effectiveness of UV treatment for drinking water.

Common water parameters such as iron, hardness and turbidity impact UV transmittance, cause mineral buildup in the system, and pose risk for post-disinfection contamination.

In other words, viruses can be “hidden” from the UV light behind small particles in the water as it flows through the system.

If your water contains a high amount of sediment or iron, you can select a system with a pre-filter to remove this sediment before UV disinfection. On the other hand, you can add a UV component to your whole house water filter if you already have one installed.

By removing minerals and contaminants that cause water to be cloudy you will be making the UV disinfection treatment more effective, ensuring that all pathogens and viruses are removed or deactivated from your drinking water.

Where can I buy a UV disinfection system?

You can purchase a UV disinfection system for your home’s water supply either online or through a local dealer.

We recommend checking out Viqua, a leader in the industry for home water UV disinfection.

You can find their products online at DiscountFilterStore.com