Source of Viruses in Water: Viruses are infectious organisms which range in size from 10 to 25 nanometers, making them invisible to the human eye. There are over 100 types of enteric viruses, which are infectious to humans. These viruses are generally introduced into the water through animal or human fecal matter. The US EPA has established an MCL that states that municipalities must have 99.99% reduction or inactivation of the viruses. Well owners or those who get water from surface water are especially at risk for contracting viruses from drinking water.
Symptoms of Viruses: Each virus may have different symptoms. Here are a few that may be communicated through drinking water:
Enteroviruses: Polio, aseptic meningitis, and encephalitis Reoviruses: Upper respiratory and gastrointestinal illness Rotaviruses: Gastroenteritis Adenoviruses: Upper respiratory and gastrointestinal illness Hepatitis A: Infectious hepatitis Norwalk-type: Gastroenteritis
Water Treatment for Viruses: Chemical oxidation can be used to remove viruses from drinking water; chlorine and ozone are used by many municipalities to kill viruses in water. However, these chemicals and processes can be difficult for residential homes, further, chlorine can produce harmful chemical by-products. UV water purification will work to effectively disable viruses, preventing them from reproducing and causing illness. Ultrafiltation and ceramic filtration rated at 1 micron absolute will be able to reduce the presence of these harmful viruses as well. Hikers and campers should carry hand-held UV treatment systems designed to "zap" these dangerous viruses if they are planning on drinking surface water from lakes or streams.