Ebola - Latest Guidance for Wastewater & Biosolids
Opportunity to support research on ebola & wastewater
As previously noted, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued ebola guidance for wastewater workers.
Some in the wastewater management community have gone further in considering the potential risks and best worker safety practices. The most significant additional step now being recommended: wastewater treatment facilities that receive wastewater from hospitals approved to treat ebola patients should work with those hospitals to set up ebola waste pretreatment at the hospital, so as to eliminate discharges of untreated ebola waste to collection systems. More details here and here.
In the meantime, while wastewater and biosolids are not considered pathways for spread of ebola, there are some questions on survivability. Therefore, CASA and other wastewater organizations are funding research by a team of leading microbiologists and virologists (e.g. Dr. Charles Gerba, Univ. of AZ), who will use ebola surrogates to evaluate how long ebola virus can remain infective in various treatment and environmental situations, including, for example anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids. Additional funding is sought; contact Greg Kester for details. More research details here.
Note that there are currently no active ebola cases known in North America; this fall's efforts by CDC, WEF, CASA, and other organizations are intended to prepare the wastewater and biosolids management community in the unlikely event that additional cases occur.