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ACS ES&T Water ; 2(10):1628-1638, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2069856


Recent water sector safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for industry-focused reviews of emerging pathogens to support evidence-based utility decision-making. Between May 7 and August 20, 2022, more than 41 358 cases of human monkeypox were reported globally from over 87 countries in which the disease is not endemic. Given that the presence and persistence of monkeypox virus (MPXV) in feces, water, and wastewater has not been investigated, we summarize the available evidence on MPXV and related orthopoxviruses to provide sector-wide recommendations and identify knowledge gaps. On the basis of the information available to date, this outbreak is unlikely to pose an exposure and transmission risk from wastewater, biosolids, or water due to the absence of any evidence to date that suggests that infectious MPXV is present in wastewater or biosolids or has caused human cases, clusters, or outbreaks from exposure to these sources. In addition, remaining smallpox vaccine immunity in the population, availability of vaccines and treatments, susceptibility of poxviruses to disinfection (e.g., UV and chlorine), and evidence from health care confirming the efficacy of infection control measures all suggest that current treatment and recommended wastewater worker protection practices are sufficient to protect public and occupational health.

Sci Total Environ ; 774: 145732, 2021 Jun 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1071919


Current wastewater worker guidance from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommendations and states that no additional specific protections against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infections, are recommended for employees involved in wastewater management operations with residuals, sludge, and biosolids at water resource recovery facilities. The USEPA guidance references a document from 2002 that summarizes practices required for protection of workers handling class B biosolids to minimize exposure to pathogens including viruses. While there is no documented evidence that residuals or biosolids of any treatment level contain infectious SARS-CoV-2 or are a source of transmission of this current pandemic strain of coronavirus, this review summarizes and examines whether the provided federal guidance is sufficient to protect workers in view of currently available data on SARS-CoV-2 persistence and transmission. No currently available epidemiological data establishes a direct link between wastewater sludge or biosolids and risk of infection from the SARS-CoV-2. Despite shedding of the RNA of the virus in feces, there is no evidence supporting the presence or transmission of infectious SARS-CoV-2 through the wastewater system or in biosolids. In addition, this review presents previous epidemiologic data related to other non-enveloped viruses. Overall, the risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2, or any pathogen, decreases with increasing treatment measures. As a result, the highest risk of exposure is related to spreading and handling untreated feces or stool, followed by untreated municipal sludge, the class B biosolids, while lowest risk is associated with spreading or handling Class A biosolids. This review reinforces federal recommendations and the importance of vigilance in applying occupational risk mitigation measures to protect public and occupational health.

COVID-19 , Occupational Health , Biosolids , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
Water Environ Res ; 93(4): 502-515, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-734815


While researchers have acknowledged the potential role of environmental scientists, engineers, and industrial hygienists during this pandemic, the role of the water utility professional is often overlooked. The wastewater sector is critical to public health protection and employs collection and treatment system workers who perform tasks with high potential for exposures to biological agents. While various technical guidances and reports have initially provided direction to the water sector, the rapidly growing body of research publications necessitates the constant review of these papers and data synthesis. This paper presents the latest findings and highlights their implications from a water and wastewater utility operation and management perspective. PRACTITIONER POINTS: Extrapolation from SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, as well as other surrogates, has helped predicting SARS-CoV-2 behavior and risk management. Data from treated wastewater effluent suggest that current processes are sufficient for SARS-CoV-2 control. Scientific evidence supports the possibility of fecal-oral transmission for SARS-CoV-2. Limited evidence supports the potential survival of infective SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces and in aerosols and the efficacy of control measures at reducing transmission. Protective practices and PPE can protect workers from SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens found in wastewater.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Pandemics , Water