We love our outdoors here in Minnesota-- we ARE the Land of 10,000 Lakes, after all-- but could COVID-19 be lurking in the water?

That was the question posed by University of Minnesota researchers earlier this spring. This MPR story says they weren't concerned so much about the coronavirus being present in lakes and rivers-- so don't break those plans you had to head on up north or over to the Mississippi this summer.

But they WERE concerned about COVID-19 possibly traveling into an infected person's septic system, which could then leak into the groundwater supplies in nearby private wells. They're continuing to study that issue, which is much more prevalent in rural areas across Minnesota where 'city water' isn't available. (And while that study is ongoing, a story from the National Ground Water Association says that scenario doesn't actually present much risk at all, either.)

The good news for anyone in Minnesota who does use 'city water'-- meaning, you get your water from a municipal water utility-- is that those supplies are safe. In fact, Rochester Public Utilities said the same thing in their latest issue of Plugged In.

RPU noted there are several redundancies that make sure Rochester's water supply is protected from the coronavirus. The first is that our water supply isn't taken from a river, stream or lake-- it's sourced from underground aquifers, not the Zumbro River.

The second, and more important safeguard, is the filtration system RPU uses at its treatment plant in Rochester. It's a chlorine disinfection process that is an effective treatment for COVID-19 in water supplies. RPU normally runs its chlorine process from April through October, but started it earlier this year-- in mid-March-- due to the coronavirus outbreak, Plugged In said.

"The Rochester Public Utility water department works every day to protect public water supplies from bacteriological and viral contamination. RPU complies with all State & Federal drinking water regulations and uses a multi-barrier approach to ensure safe and reliable drinking water," Plugged In noted.

Which means, yes, our drinking water-- and the water we bathe with and wash our clothes with-- here in the Med City is safe!

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