ADEM: Alabama drinking water is safe amid COVID-19 outbreak

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Your drinking water is safe, so there’s no need to hoard cases of bottled water during the coronavirus crisis, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) wants the public to know.

Thanks to safety requirements, ADEM director Lance LeFleur says the water you drink can come from your tap and be 100% safe.

“With so many things Alabamians have to worry about – their jobs, social distancing, the welfare of loved ones, gathering food and other necessities – the safety of their drinking water shouldn’t be one of them,” said Lance LeFleur, ADEM’s director. “The water they get from their tap, whether it’s from a large municipal system or a small, rural utility, is 100 percent safe due to the proven safety requirements they are required to follow and that ADEM enforces. People don’t need to fear the coronavirus as far as their water is concerned.”

LeFleur points out that the disinfectants the water systems add as standard operating procedures kill viruses, including COVID-19. Likewise, standard operations of municipal wastewater systems kill any viruses before the treated water is discharged into Alabama’s rivers and streams. ADEM, through its permitting and inspections, is making sure the drinking water systems, as well as wastewater systems, abide by the appropriate, stringent clean water standards, LeFleur said.

In a letter sent Friday to Gov. Kay Ivey, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew R. Wheeler, emphasized the importance of the public’s confidence in their water supply in combating the novel coronavirus.

“Ensuring that drinking water and wastewater services are fully operational is critical to containing COVID-19 and protecting Americans from other public health risks,” Wheeler said. “Handwashing and cleaning depend on providing safe and reliable drinking water and effective treatment of wastewater.”

Alabama ADEM director LeFluer agreed with Wheeler’s statement.

“From an environmental standpoint, nothing is more important than maintaining clean drinking water,” he said. “While coronavirus does not in itself pose a threat to our drinking water, nor to our wastewater treatment systems, it would be impossible to fight the virus without clean water. Our water systems and their employees are essential, and from our standpoint, so too are the people, our people, whose job is to make sure those systems are safe and well-maintained.”

ADEM reports there are regulations and inspections that take place to ensure communities that their drinking water is safe and follow the guidelines of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Alabama.

Click here to read the full press release.


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