How to Remove Viruses from Drinking Water



Contaminated water is linked to the transmission of diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and polio.

Waterborne viruses and bacteria cause hundreds of millions of people to become afflicted with sickness each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers water-transmitted viruses to be a significant health concern worldwide.

Some water-borne viruses can spread through water, including meningitis, gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, SARs, hepatitis A, hepatitis E, and Typhoid can spread through water.

How to Get Viruses Out of Water

Here are three ways to ensure your household water is safe from viruses:

boiling-water-to-remove-viruses.png 1) Boil Water: Boiling water for at least one minute is an effective way to kill viruses in drinking water. But it is a time consuming and tedious process, so usually used as a temporary fix during an emergency or “boil water advisory”. 

2) Disinfect with Chemicals. Millions of households on private wells must regularly monitor their well water for viruses and bacteria. Chlorine and other chemicals can be used to “shock” or disinfect a well. This method kills viruses and bacteria in the well. The amount of chlorine you use will depend on the presence of biofilm, the depth of your well, the water pH, water temperature, etc. You'll also need to determine the correct chemical concentration needed and exercise extreme caution as the chemicals are toxic. After shocking, the well should be continually monitored and tested as the water quality can change throughout the year. 


uv-water-sterilizer-to-remove-viruses.png 3) Install a UV Water Disinfection System: UV water disinfection is a chemical-free, economical way to purify water from 99.99% of viruses (and 99.9999% of harmful bacteria and cysts). With UV light sterilizers, you have the option of a whole-house system– ensuring water at every faucet in the household is free of viruses and bacteria 24/7, or installing a UV system at a single faucet to treat drinking water.

NOTE: The UV system's effectiveness is dependent on correct system sizing and low sediment and turbidity/cloudiness in the water. A prefilter installed before a UV system is generally recommended. 

You might consider an integrated system that includes prefiltration with the UV system, such as the VIQUA IHS22-D4. This integrated system can remove sediment and cloudiness so that UV light can effectively inactivate viruses in the UV chamber.

Viqua IHS22-D4 UV Water Filter System

Is UV Filter Necessary for City Water?

A UV water purifier isn’t necessary if you get your water from a municipal supplier. But more and more households on city/municipal water are choosing to install a UV water filter system as an added layer of protection. Because the public water system is often vulnerable to impurities leaching in, not to mention the inconvenience of “boil water advisories”, millions of families have installed a whole-house UV disinfection system. UV light sterilizers are considered to be a safe, effective way to disinfect water.

Remove Viruses from Water During an Emergency

outback emergency water filter how it works

The US Government recommends that to prepare for a pandemic, storm or other natural disaster, households should store a 2-week supply of water and food. And the need for making water safe from bacteria and viruses is more common than you might realize. Every day, hundreds of boil water notices are issued in cities throughout the U.S. With an installed UV water filter system, there is no need to boil water or any of the methods listed below.

1) Boil Water: While boiling water for one minute is one of the surest ways to kill viruses in drinking water, it is often not possible during an emergency because an energy source is needed to heat the water.

2) Household Bleach: You can also use unscented household bleach to disinfect water during an emergency, applying two drops of bleach per quart of water.

3) Gravity Water Filter: Typical water filters do NOT remove viruses and bacteria. But systems such as the Outback Emergency Water Filtration system have the right filters to protect against 99.99% of all viruses and 99.9999% of bacteria. The system has been used worldwide since 2003 by relief organizations such as the Red Cross and Peace Corps.

The Outback meet US EPA standards for virus reduction and requires no electricity to operate. The Outback has been thoroughly tested for virus reduction.

If you have questions about how to ensure viruses are removed from your household water or want to know more about virus filtration options during times of emergency, give us a call at 877-377-9876 (Mon-Fri, 8 am to 5 pm CT).