Misinformation taps into COVID-19 drinking water scare
A nervous and virus-rattled public is asking this question across the country: Can you get the COVID-19 virus from drinking tap water?
A few Portlanders have asked the city water bureau that question in the past couple of days. There's a lot of misinformation flying around about the very contagious coronavirus, and bureau officials jumped in Tuesday, March 17, to make sure everyone understood that the virus isn't spread through tap water.
"Tap water continues to be safe to drink," bureau officials said in a press advisory sent Tuesday to local media outlets.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency said the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in public drinking water. "Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low," EPA officials said in a statement. "Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual."
Portland Water Bureau Public Information Officer Jaymee Cuti said the city's drinking water systems were treated with disinfectants that would block or remove the virus causing serious respiratory ailments. The city also follows EPA and Oregon Health Authority water treatment requirements, Cuti said, and "regularly tests throughout the drinking water system make sure the water remains safe."
Bureau officials sent the tap water advisory because a bureau manager heard misinformation about the virus and city water supplies and feared it could cause concern, Cuti said. Portland isn't alone. Cities across the nation have sent similar messages assuring customers tap water was safe to drink.
Portland's Bull Run water is used by nearly two dozen cities and water districts in three Portland-area counties.
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