By Guy Page
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation last month ordered Vermont public water systems to disinfect water to protect immuno-suppressed Vermonters at risk from Covid-19.
Not all public water supplies are treated with disinfectants, although all are tested regularly to insure quality. Chlorine or similar chemicals are the standard disinfectant. Ultraviolet light also is recognized. The water disinfection order is printed on the DEC website:
“Instruction to Disinfect – The Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division is requiring all community and NTNCs to disinfect, if not already doing so. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. This measure is being required out of an abundance of caution so that users of the water, who happen to have COVID-19 are not further compromised due to other pathogens that may be present in the drinking water. A properly operated disinfection treatment facility provides an additional barrier of public health protection for the water system’s users, and the Division believes this additional protection is prudent and appropriate at this time. The requirement to provide continuous disinfection will stand until the end of the Governor’s Emergency Declaration. Currently that is anticipated to be April 15, 2020, however, it may be extended as necessary.”
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Not all public drinking water supplies are chlorinated. For example, the Town of Chester did not chlorinate until required to do so by the state order. Residents started noticing a chlorine taste to its water in early April. The Chester Telegraph asked Gov. Scott and Health Dept. Commissioner Mark Levine about the chlorination order at a press conference last week; both said they were unaware of it.
Adding chlorine or chloramine (chlorine with an additive) have been controversial in recent decades, due to perceived health side-effects of both, Vermonters for a Clean Environment has documented.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports.