On March 27th, 2020 an EPA Memo to All Governmental and Private Sector Partners issued guidance on COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program. See our publications page for a copy.
In this memo the public water systems are given the highest priority of resources since a lack of clean water for drinking and hand washing would further endanger public health.
However, the memo loosens environmental controls substantially by not seeking penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations. Worse still, the EPA has agreed that where these standards slip, there will be no requirement to "catch up". All violations are self-reportable, so there is little to no control over what's dumped in our rivers, air and land. This is a significant threat to our water supply both for well owners and even city water as testing is reduced during this pandemic. Although of a completely different nature, these kinds of failures are precisely what caused the water disaster in Flint MI, leaving thousands dead or sickened for the rest of their lives. It is important that as many people as possible protect themselves by treating the water supply in their own homes as the last line of defense.
Coronavirus is especially dangerous for a number of reasons, including its ease of transmission and the fact that those infected are often asymptomatic. This means they show no symptoms and are therefore unaware of their status. Even in isolation, this is extremely dangerous because as these folks touch faucets and drinking vessels , they are "shedding" or transmitting the virus to others in the household. Obviously thorough hand washing and good cleaning practices reduce this risk, but proper hand washing is taught in medical schools to ensure it's done correctly! The average person rarely knows the appropriate technique to properly wash their hands, making this a high risk concern. To help reduce these concerns, it is essential to learn and perform proper handwashing and make the source of drinking water as "touch free" as possible.
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