1 1 (March 26, 2020)

handle is hein.crs/govcszr0001 and id is 1 raw text is: 

               Researh Sevice

COVID-19 and Regulation of Public Drinking


March 26, 2020
During infectious disease outbreaks, questions regarding public water supplies may emerge, as a safe and
adequate water supply is a key component to protecting public health. As the United States and other
countries respond to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), questions may arise
regarding the potential for the COVID-19 virus to be present in public water supplies.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the COVID-19 virus has not been
detected in drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that
Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual. To support water providers and
others in addressing COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 19, 2020, issued
interin guidance on water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-1 9 virus. The
guidance states that the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in water supplies and that the risk to water
supplies is low based on current evidence.
In its guidance, WHO characterizes the COVID-19 virus as an enveloped virus, with a fragile outer
membrane and states that the COVID-19 virus is likely to be more sensitive to chlorine and other
oxidant disinfection processes than other types of viruses. Given the virus's fragile outer membrane,
WHO reports that conventional centralized water treatment methods that use filtration or disinfection
methods should inactivate the COVID- 19 virus. Similarly, the CDC states that conventional drinking
water treatments, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the
COVID-19 virus. In the United States, privately and publicly owned water systems are required to
comply with federal drinking water regulations, which include requirements for such conventional
drinking water treatments.

National Drinking Water Regulations
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA; 42 U.S.C. 300f-300j-27) authorizes EPA to regulate
contaminants that may occur in water provided by public water systems. In addition to the act's broad
rulemaking provisions, Congress amended SDWA in 1986 and 1996 to specifically direct EPA to
promulgate regulations to increase protections against microbial contaminants (42 U.S.C. 300g-1(b)(7)-
(8)). Using SDWA authorities, EPA has issued national primary drinking water regulations for more than
90 contaminants, including microbial contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
                                                                Congressional Research Service

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