Are you wondering if COVID-19 can be spread via water or human waste and what to do if your sewer or drain pipes break during the pandemic? While all the ways the novel coronavirus can be spread are not known or entirely known, the medical community is doing its best to keep people updated. Here at NuFlow, we want you to stay healthy, practice social distancing and practice excellent hygiene, and part of that equation may mean staying on top of any immediately needed repairs to your sewer and drain pipes.

Understanding How COVID-19 Spreads

It’s important to understand that how COVID-19 spreads is still being researched. As the data is updated, the webpages from the CDC, WHO and NIH are also updated. This means that the information regarding the novel coronavirus is still fluctuating, almost on a daily basis.

  • Individuals may be contagious for up to 14 days before they start to show symptoms.
  • The novel coronavirus can live and float in the air for up to three hours.
  • The novel coronavirus is able to live on surfaces for a certain amount of time, according to WebMD.
    • Cardboard (shipping and food boxes, etc) – About 24 hours
    • Copper (Pennies, cookware, copper fixtures) – About 4 hours
    • Ceramics (Tiles, dishes, etc) – Up to 5 days
    • Wood (including furniture, railings and decking) – Up to 4 days
    • Plastic (food containers, seats, railings, backpacks, etc) – Up to 3 days
    • Glass (Windows, dishes, etc) – Up to 5 days
    • Metal/Stainless Steel (including doorknobs, jewelry and silverware) – Up to 5 days
  • COVID-19 is believed to be transmitted via droplets expelled by coughing and sneezing.
  • Newer research indicates that infected individuals may shed viruses when talking or breathing.

Information About the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus and Water Supply and Water Treatment

The CDC states that COVID-19 has not been found in municipal drinking water. To date, the CDC believes that the filtration processes and disinfection processes are able to kill and/or remove the novel coronavirus from the drinking water. The EPA also states that tap water is safe to drink during the outbreak.

Understanding COVID-19 in regards to Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas

It is not believed that COVID-19 is spread through pools, hot tubs or spas. However, individuals, families and institutions/buildings that own these recreational features should make sure to keep their pools, hot tubs and spas properly disinfected, filtered and maintained. The CDC recommends using chlorine and bromine for disinfection. If you are uncertain as to how to properly disinfect your pool, hot tub or spa, you should contact the manufacturer. If you are extremely concerned about these items becoming sources of contamination, you can always drain them and shut them down according to the proper instructions from the manufacturer.

Feces and the Coronavirus

COVID-19 has been found in the excrement(feces) of some of the patients who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. The CDC believes that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from human excrement is low. However, research as to how many virus particles are shed in the stool, how long the virus is shed via the stool during and after infection and whether or not the virus particles in the stool are contagious is unknown.

Sewage Systems and COVID-19

It is unknown as to whether or not COVID-19 can be transmitted through sewage systems. In general, the CDC believes that contracting the novel coronavirus via a sewage system or contact with that system is low, and there have been no reported cases of anyone contracting COVID-19 through contact with a sewer or drain pipe. With that being said, no one knows for sure if it can be contracted via a sewage system.

The EPA also quotes the WHO (World Health Organization) who states that “there is no evidence to date that COVID-19 virus has been transmitted via sewerage systems, with or without wastewater treatment.”

Understanding How You Can Protect Yourself and Others from the Novel Coronavirus

The CDC offers tips and guidance on how to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19. Those tips include:

  • Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and increasing your frequency of handwashing
  • Try to avoid touching your face
  • If you must sneeze, sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Do not sneeze into the air.
  • Do not stand near others (try to maintain a 6-foot separation at all times)
  • Do your best to avoid large crowds and review your state’s guidelines for crowd control
  • If you feel sick, remain at home (some states have even expanded this to include symptoms of allergies)
  • If you are sick, contact a medical professional or your family doctor for further instructions and care guidelines

Deciding Whether or Not You Need Sewer and Drain Pipelining or Repairs

If you are experiencing any of these problems, then there is a good chance you are experiencing a drain and/or sewer pipe emergency. If you are experiencing an emergency, it’s extremely important to get it corrected right away. While it is not yet known if feces and wastewater transmit the novel coronavirus, it may be best to error on the side of extreme caution. Not to mention, inhaling sewer gas and coming into contact with back or greywater can be harmful to human health, regardless of whether it contains COVID-19 virus particles.

  • You have stinky puddles in your yard or on your property that appear to be above or near your sewer pipe.
  • You smell sewer gas in your building or on your property.
  • Your drains are backing up into your building.
  • Your drains are running extremely slow or recently ran water is standing in sinks and bathtubs for an extended amount of time.

What to Do if You Think Your Need Immediate Sewer or Drain Repairs or Pipelining

Please call us and explain your sewer or drain pipe problems. Our pipelining technicians can help you determine if it is an emergency or if it can wait. Obviously, if you have wastewater or sewage backing into your building or home, you need an immediate sewer repair. To get more information and to schedule pipelining with our technicians at NuFlow, give us a call at 815-790-9000.