COVID-19 in drinking water; is there a risk?

It is becoming clear that COVID-19 spreads through liquid aerosol particles via coughing, sneezing - even breathing.


But do coronavirus particles also present a risk to our drinking water supply?

Drinking Water. Source: wikimedia commons.


While we wait for thousands of current COVID-19 studies to conclude, we can look at the results of previous investigations on the characteristics of similar coronaviruses.


These results show that coronaviruses survive quite well in water, with virus survival rates depending on two main factors – the temperature and the type of water.


A study published in the journal 'Food and Environmental Virology' in 2009 found that human coronavirus 229E (responsible for the common cold) takes up to 10 days to inactivate in tap water at 23°C, but over 100 days in tap water at 4°C.


According to Weather and Climate, Melbourne’s water temperature fluctuates between 13°C in winter and 17°C in summer; with Sydney between 16°C and 21°C, Brisbane between 19°C and 25°C, and Perth between 17°C and 21°C.


So, with most states’ drinking water temperature below 23°C – is there cause for concern?


Not according to the US