The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.), in collaboration with many water and public health organizations, has been seeking credible Ebola information to address concerns and questions within the water sector. Although there is limited data on the fate and transport of Ebola in wastewater collection systems, the development of protective precautions is essential. As such, the organizations have reached out to appropriate federal agencies to discuss wastewater worker safety and the inactivation of Ebola by wastewater treatment processes.
During a conference call, organized by WEF on Oct. 16, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared that CDC has prepared and is conducting an internal review of an interim guidance. The guidance, titled Interim Guidance for Workers Handling Untreated Sewage from Ebola Cases in the United States, will address basic hygiene practices, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and PPE disposal actions. Specifically, this guidance will provide recommendations and protocols for
• workers who perform sewer maintenance,
• construction workers who repair or replace live sewers,
• plumbers, and
• workers who clean portable toilets.
CDC stated that the guidance review would be expedited and indicated that guidance could be released as soon as late October. WEF will communicate when CDC releases the guidance or as new information becomes available.
CDC is the lead federal agency for Ebola containment and prevention. For the best information on Ebola, visit www.cdc.gov/ebola. Also see the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for general Ebola guidance focused on workplace safety and health at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ebola.