Ground Water Canada

COVID-19 Updates News Contamination Water Issues
NGWA releases paper citing low risk of COVID-19 contaminating private water wells

April 24, 2020  By Ground Water Canada

Westerville, OH – The National Ground Water Association has published an article outlining the potential risk of COVID-19 contaminating private water well systems and urges all private well owners to perform regular maintenance on their systems to decrease the likelihood of viral contamination.

“Groundwater, Wells, and Coronavirus,” authored by the NGWA’s director of science and technology, William M. Alley, PhD, and regulatory affairs manager, Charles A. Job, reports private water wells are at low risk of transmitting COVID-19.While the risk to private water well systems is low, various viruses, including COVID-19, are still a potential threat to drinking water from private wells, the NGWA said in a news release.“There’s more to be learned about the behaviour of the COVID-19 virus in water and wastewater,” Alley said. “Based on knowledge to date, the risk to private wells is extremely low.”

The most effective action to protect against viruses, including COVID-19, from contaminating a water supply is regular maintenance of well water systems and wastewater septic systems. “Groundwater, Wells, and Coronavirus” also highlights the importance of proper septic system maintenance as well as setback.

“The setback distance from well to septic system has a long history and has been built into state and local water codes to protect ground waters tapped by wells,” Job said. “The setback allows time for pathogens that may be carried underground to die, be filtered out, or be adsorbed onto soil particles. Setbacks should take into account an area’s soils and geology.”


In addition to proper maintenance of water systems, treatment can be another important defence against pathogens in water supply, if determined by water testing to be needed. Distillation, ultraviolet (UV) treatment, and reverse osmosis technologies for households are all effective in removing viruses from water.

“Groundwater, Wells, and Coronavirus” is now available on the website of NGWA’s Water Well Journal.

“NGWA has been an industry leader from the early stages of the COVID-19 epidemic,” said NGWA chief executive officer Terry S. Morse, CAE, CIC. “We feel, as experts in ground water science and technology, it’s our duty to provide these resources to our membership and the general public as we continue to fight this outbreak.”

For more information on properly maintaining your water well system and to find a local water well contractor, well owners are encouraged to visit

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