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COVID-19 and Wastewater

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Information About the Virus and Wastewater

COVID-19 Virus and Wastewater Art









Protecting public health is extremely important to the City of Bend Utility Department. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have received numerous questions and concerns about the virus's potential presence in water and wastewater.  We continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding any possible spread of COVID-19 through water or wastewater. Our operations continue to provide high standards in sampling and monitoring, which we routinely provide for our water, wastewater, and environmental services. For more information about COVID-19 related to water, please visit our City of Bend Water website.


Can the COVID-19 virus spread through wastewater/sewer systems?

According to the CDC, "The virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in untreated wastewater. Researchers do not know whether this virus can cause disease if a person is exposed to untreated wastewater or sewerage systems. There is no evidence to date that this has occurred. At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through properly designed and maintained sewerage systems is thought to below."  (


What we do know -

  • The City of Bend Utility Department collection and treatment of wastewater is processed by trained professionals who wear appropriate personal protective equipment and take the proper safety and non-contamination steps.

  • The risk of exposure from sewage contamination is minimized based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS (CDC).

  • There are no reports of fecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 to date (CDC) 

  • The CDC is continuing to review COVID-19 transmission, and information will be relayed when it becomes available.

  • It is unknown how long COVID-19 can live in untreated sewage.
  • The City of Bend’s new Wastewater equipment minimizes exposure from contaminates and the airborne particles associated with treatment.

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