Conventional water treatment methods (filtration and disinfection) used in drinking water networks across the country are functioning as designed and prevent all waterborne pathogens, head of the Energy Ministry's crisis management department said.
“There is no way pathogens (coronavirus or any other virus) can contaminate the water supply and distribution chain as chlorine levels are high enough to destroy the viruses,” Meysam Jafarzadeh was quoted as saying by ISNA.
People can continue to drink and use tap water as usual, he said.
Chlorine, a strong oxidizing and disinfecting agent, is used not only as the main disinfectant in water treatment, but is also added to provide a disinfectant residual to protect water in the distribution process where chlorine is in contact with water for much longer periods during treatment, he added.
Chlorination has been the predominant method of drinking water disinfection all over the world for nearly 70 years.
“The COVID-19 virus has not been and will never be detected in drinking water” as current drinking water disinfection practices provide the means to control most pathogenic bacteria and viruses responsible for major waterborne diseases, he noted.
Besides disinfection, drinking water treatment practices at a given facility include filtration to remove suspended particles, chemical oxidation to reduce objectionable taste, odor, or color or other operations designed to produce safe and clean water from a raw water source.
Regarding the distribution network, he said the drinking water distribution process is more than a means of transporting finished water to the tap. It also acts as a storage system and a potential source of inorganic, organic, and biological contamination that is why the supply system is constantly monitored.
According to the official, the risk of transmission of the virus through wastewater systems is thought to be low due to the fact wastewater treatment plants treat viruses and other pathogens.
COVID-19 is a type of virus that is particularly susceptible to disinfection. Standard treatment and disinfectant processes at wastewater treatment plants are expected to be effective.
Although transmission of COVID-19 through sewage may be possible, there is no evidence to date that this has occurred, the World Health Organization has said.
He added that workers in wastewater treatment plants have been instructed to follow standard practices (special hygiene precaution and wear proper protective gear) to prevent overexposure to wastewater in plants.
In Iran nearly 16,200 people contracted the virus as of Tuesday, with the death toll reaching 1,000, a health official said.
Iran recorded 1,200 new cases, compared to 1,050 a day earlier, taking the national tally to 16,196, with deaths rising by 147 to 1,000 in 24 hours.