WEF Report Determines Low Risk of COVID-19 Infection for Wastewater Professionals

On August 13th, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) Blue Ribbon Panel on Biological Hazards and Safety Precautions published their findings Protecting Wastewater Professionals From Covid-19 and Other Biological Hazards. The publication covers specific findings regarding COVID-19; an update of MOP-1, Safety, Health, and Security in Wastewater Systems; and identifies additional research needs.

Through his role as the WEF Disinfection and Public Health Committee Chair, AE2S Wastewater Practice Leader Scott Schaefer helped to identify the need for this work, worked to develop the initial scoping for the Panel, and provided review of the 114 page document. “Our broad role in protecting public health quickly gets personal when contributing to the knowledge necessary to protect our coworkers, clients, and friends working on the front lines,” states Schaefer.

A brief summary of the report:

  • Risk of COVID infection via wastewater is low to negligible based upon the lack of viable COVID virus found to date in wastewater samples.
  • Many other pathogens are still present in wastewater necessitating appropriate PPE.
  • A Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is recommended to outline safety requirements for each common task.

AE2S can assist in reviewing existing JSAs or with developing new JSAs appropriate for specific wastewater collection and treatment equipment/systems.

The full report can be downloaded from the WEF website: https://accesswater.org/publications/-10027929/protecting-wastewater-professionals-from-covid-19-and-other-biological-hazards

For further information, contact Scott Schaefer at Scott.Schaefer@AE2S.com.