Water Users & COVID-19

COVID-19 Guidance for Water Users - (Drinking Water, Wastewater, Swimming Pools)

In order to provide South Carolinians with ongoing and current information regarding the safety of drinking water and recreational waters and the sanitation of wastewaters, the following links to resources from USEPA and CDC are provided. 

Governor McMaster requests that all utilities serving the state of South Carolina do not suspend or disconnect essential services for nonpayment during the current state of emergency.

With the execution of Executive Order No. 2020-17 by the Governor Henry McMaster: All Public Swimming Pools and Spas in the state of SC must be Closed by Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. The Department does require that all public swimming pool and spas must be closed a sign posted stating "No Swimming" or "Pool Closed" on the affected pool or pool enclosure, and that the pool area must be locked to patron access. 

With the execution of Executive Order 2020-16 by Governor Henry McMaster he is requiring closure of all Public Beach Access Points, Public Peirs, Public Docks, Public Wharfs, Public Boat Ramps, and Public Boat Landings for the duration of the state of emergency. With the execution of Executive Order 2020-17 by Governor Henry McMaster he is requiring closure of all non essential businesses. DHEC does include Public Beach Access on Freshwater Locations in these Executive Orders. At this time the Department in accordance with Executive Order 2020-16 and 2020-17 is requiring the closure of all Natural Swimming Areas in the state of South Carolina  for the duration of the state of emergency. 

The key points from these resources are:

  • The COVID-19 virus is transmitted;
    • through the air by coughing and sneezing,
    • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, 
    • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Transmission of the COVID-19 virus through fecal waste has not been documented to-date.
  • Viruses such as COVID-19 are more susceptible to disinfection and not very stable in the natural environment.
  • Common disinfectants such as chlorine, already in use at many water treatment and all wastewater treatment facilities and pools and hot tubs, are effective in deactivation of the virus.
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by treated drinking water or treated wastewater according to the World Health Organization. 
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of properly operated, maintained and disinfected pools and hot tubs.
  • A properly designed, installed and functioning septic system is expected to be effective in safely managing the virus.

The Department recommends and encourages the continued use of tap water for drinking, cooking, bathing and other personal needs. The Department does not believe it necessary to purchase bottled water to have a safe potable supply relative to the COVID-19 virus. Consumers that receive their water from a public water utility may contact that utility to learn more about the utility's treatment and disinfection processes. Homeowners with private wells who are concerned about pathogens such as viruses in their well water may consider installing certified home treatment devices that remove pathogenic organisms or performing well disinfection: https://scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/CR-003247.pdf.