In the midst of social distancing and telecommuting we're curious about the thoughts of the engineering community - particularly the environmental engineering community which has historically played an important role in public health and safety through advances in water supply and wastewater treatment. What role do you foresee for our community following the WHO declared coronavirus pandemic?
Hi Lauren-As an engineer working in water supply, I'm most concerned about the widespread occupancy reductions in non-residential buildings that may be commonplace going forward. Reduced occupancy of the buildings and, by extension, underutilization and stagnation of building water systems can result in lower residual disinfectant concentrations, growth of microorganisms, and accelerated pipe corrosion. In addition, utility-level changes to water quality (e.g., disinfectant residual reductions) may arise because commercial customers account for a large part of water demand and tend to be concentrated in districts which are currently seeing very low flows.
This raises questions about what can be done to head off such problems in buildings now that still have a maintenance crew on staff, such as flushing to simulate normal water consumption, and what if anything should be done prior to re-occupancy, such as potable water testing and disinfection.
Waste analysis was also one of first go to's, its an effective way to understand the effects of COVID-19 in the general population, but it doesn't address how to detect the virus on an individual level. With demands for individual testing, feasibility becomes an issue to deliver the amount of supply needed for testing, so I was thinking about breathalyzers, considering that the size of the virus is said to be large. I don't know what the diameter of ethanol is and how it is measured but since breathalyzers are readily available it could be a matter of calibrating the device to detect the COVID-19 virus since it is a virus that attacks the patient's lungs.
Disclaimer:I am not doing research on this topic but I was interested in sharing a potential solution.------------------------------Oanh Le Aff.M.ASCESuwanee GA------------------------------