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Concerns mount about dry floor drains spreading Covid-19
The Lancet, one of the world's most respected medical journals, has reported concerns that Covid-19 can spread via plumbing systems in both homes and commercial facilities.
"By [their] very design, plumbing systems are a harbinger of pathogenic microorganisms which, under some circumstances, have the potential to enable airborne transmission of viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2), which causes Coronavirus disease (Covid-19)," it reports.
The primary way this happens, according to Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co. "is that contaminated air drifts from dried out drainpipes carrying droplets of the virus.
"This has become more of an issue recently because so many buildings have been closed for more than 30 days. What happens is, the P-trap under drains evaporates. When it does, this opens the door for odours, insect and fumes to be released into the facility."
The problem is exacerbated in some commercial building washrooms because HVAC systems are designed to extract air from the washroom.
"This draws contaminated air into the room," which is inhaled by restroom users, according to the Lancet report.
To help address this problem, the report suggests the following:
* Do not ignore unexplained foul odours in buildings
* Open the tap on all water-using fixtures at least once per day paying special attention to floor drains
* If a drain or a wastewater pipe appears to be disconnected or cracked, seal it immediately
* Regularly inspect drains and pipes used to remove wastewater
"With so many buildings still closed, having someone pour water into all water-using fixtures may not be possible - nor is it necessary," advises Klaus. "A few ounces of an 'everprime' sealant will replenish the water in P-traps and should last for months."
Most important - to help us fight this disease, The Lancet report concludes, we must realise there is "the potential for airborne transmission of the virus [through] plumbing systems," acknowledging it as "a potential transmission pathway for Covid-19."
11th June 2020