The ravaging COVID-19 pandemic across the globe is bringing about new challenges for the many industries and businesses across the globe. The water treatment and wastewater infrastructure is no exception to this rule.
But while many of the sectors of the industry are severely hit by the outbreak, the water and wastewater sector is, thankfully, largely spared. Drinking water from treatment facilities continue to be suitable for human consumption, and workers in these industry appear to be free from novel danger.
However, it is highly encouraged that we maintain the integrity and water safety of these facilities as we cannot afford to let water and wastewater utilities breakdown on top of the already collapsing healthcare systems worldwide. To achieve this, several actions need to be taken by water management leaders.
One of these is to conduct wastewater-based epidemiology to track and map COVID-19 infections. Since human testing is limited, testing wastewater with urine and feces from infected people can prove to be an alternative method of determining the scope of the outbreak.
Another necessary action is the reduction of exposure to aerosols. Aerosolized pathogens tend to spread in tinier particles compared to the droplets from sneezing and coughing. With this in mind, the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) should be reinforced, especially when doing wastewater treatment procedures such as filter cleaning.
Stocking up on PPEs, chemicals, and filter media should also be a priority in all treatment plants in order to combat possible shortages in the future. On top of this, increased automation in facilities will greatly help in reducing the involvement of personnel on the site.
These times are truly unprecedented in our modern history, but just like what the human race did before, we will adapt to the changes and come out stronger and smarter moving forward.
Click below to read the magazine