COVID-19 and Recycled Wastewater Irrigation: A Review of Implications
Recycled wastewater is considered as a sustainable source of irrigation water. Despite commendable safety records, viral contamination of agricultural products has occurred the past causing disease outbreaks. This review examines the apprehension that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) may also spread through recycled wastewater irrigation (RWI) industry. The novel SARS-CoV-2 is now perceived as an enteric pathogen, and has been found to remain stable in the wastewater for days. Mounting
... ys. Mounting evidences also suggest that viral particles shed by infected individuals through sewage, and greywater is much higher (up to 10 Log10) than the amount typically removed (6-7 Log10) through the recycled water disinfection processes. Such gap indicated an increased risk of infection through fecal-oral transmission route. This study also identified greywater irrigation schemes posing a higher risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It was recommended that countries putting greywater in the ‘low risk’ category may rewrite the safety guidelines in post COVID-19 times. This review also suggest that the choice of irrigation method could be critical in protecting the farmers, and the consumers from possible infections during the pandemic. In this regard, irrigation methods (i.e. sprinkler) that generate airborne droplet (leading to aerosols) may be operated with caution when public spaces are in the vicinity. The study also indicated that the developing countries should regulate surface irrigation practice that pump water from polluted rivers during the pandemic.