Water Users & COVID-19

COVID-19 Guidance for Water Users - (Drinking Water, Wastewater, Swimming Pools)

In order to provide South Carolinians with ongoing and current information regarding the safety of drinking water and recreational waters and the sanitation of wastewaters, the following links to resources from USEPA and CDC are provided. 

Governor McMaster requests that providers of utility services proceed with developing and implementing plans for phasing in normal business operations, while also working with their customers and ratepayers who need assistance to refer them to local organizations or arrange payment plans that will avoid or minimize penalties and service interruptions.

USEPA has just released drinking water flushing guidance for buildings that have been closed due to the COVID-19 event and are planned to be re-opened.

On May 11, 2020, Governor Henry McMaster announced that public or commercial pools will be able to open in a limited capacity Monday, May 18. Please see the suggested guidelines for public swimming pool reopening as set by DHEC and accelerateSC. 

The Governor's order 2020-28 on April 21, 2020 has allowed public beach access points and parking lots to open for recreational purposes. Any governmental entity in the state owning, operating, managing, or otherwise having jurisdiction and control over any such public beach access points may close those points as necessary for the protection of public health. Please check with your local controlling body to determine if your respective beach access points have limited access. Gov. Henry McMaster's Office has issued a revision to Executive Order 2020-16, Section 1(C) that reopens public boat landings and ramps in South Carolina for the purpose of launching or retrieving a boat beginning at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020. Visit DNR's webpage for more information.

The key points from these resources are:

  • The COVID-19 virus is transmitted;
    • through the air by coughing and sneezing,
    • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, 
    • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Transmission of the COVID-19 virus through fecal waste has not been documented to-date.
  • Viruses such as COVID-19 are more susceptible to disinfection and not very stable in the natural environment.
  • Common disinfectants such as chlorine, already in use at many water treatment and all wastewater treatment facilities and pools and hot tubs, are effective in deactivation of the virus.
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by treated drinking water or treated wastewater according to the World Health Organization. 
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of properly operated, maintained and disinfected pools and hot tubs.
  • A properly designed, installed and functioning septic system is expected to be effective in safely managing the virus.

The Department recommends and encourages the continued use of tap water for drinking, cooking, bathing and other personal needs. The Department does not believe it necessary to purchase bottled water to have a safe potable supply relative to the COVID-19 virus. Consumers that receive their water from a public water utility may contact that utility to learn more about the utility's treatment and disinfection processes. Homeowners with private wells who are concerned about pathogens such as viruses in their well water may consider installing certified home treatment devices that remove pathogenic organisms or performing well disinfection: https://scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/CR-003247.pdf.

 

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