As the virus warms and water supplies become more scarce, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a plan to test water for contaminants to help prevent coronaviruses from spreading, a draft document obtained by Next Big News shows.
The draft, obtained by Reuters, was among thousands of pages of EPA documents reviewed by Reuters.
The draft plan would require testing for certain contaminants and would require the agency to issue mandatory advisories if the tests found contaminants.
“We’re looking at testing for some of these contaminants and we’re also looking at making sure that we’re taking preventive measures and we have the appropriate controls in place,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a recent interview.
In September, the EPA also proposed a plan that would require drinking water testing in all 50 states.
The agency is also studying a draft proposal that would set standards for how contaminants could be tested and would establish a national testing network.
EPA Administrator Pruitt said last week the agency was still studying the draft plan and that the draft plans would not be finalized until after the 2020 census.
The agency has said it is not considering the draft recommendations because they were not written by a science advisory board and they do not take into account environmental and health impacts of the plan.
The plan also did not address the potential for coronaviral disease transmission in drinking water.
Pruitt said the EPA was reviewing the draft proposal and “getting the data” before it was published.
He said the draft proposals would take into consideration “the data that we have in front of us and will work with the scientific community to ensure that we’ve got a plan in place that can protect public health.”
The draft plan, which is being developed in partnership with the U,K., U.K. Ministry of Defence and the University of Exeter, would also require water tests to determine if a water sample contains contaminants.
Pursuing the plan, the federal agency said it will also look into a plan by the state of Vermont, which has said that it has tested more than 1.6 million gallons of water in its system since September.
Pumping the water for testing would be “much more expensive than we’re currently doing,” Pruitt said.
“I think it’s an important step forward,” he added.
The EPA is expected to issue a draft plan for testing in April.
The plan will likely require the testing of drinking water in most U. S. states, including California, Florida, Iowa, New York, Texas and Wisconsin.