Treated wastewater in UAE is free of Covid-19, say researchers

Studies have shown people infected with the virus shed it through their excrement

UAE researchers are exploring the possibility of using stem cells to repair damaged lung tissue in Covid-19 patients. Courtesy: Khalifa University
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Treated sewage water in the UAE is free of the coronavirus and is fit to be used for irrigation, experts have said.

Researchers at Khalifa University’s Centre for Biotechnology and the Centre for Membranes and Advanced Water Technology tested treated wastewater samples from three plants across three emirates.

The lab results showed the water to be free of the virus.

The researchers believe viral wastewater levels can be a good predictor of how many people are infected in the population.

Also, monitoring wastewater could be used as a way of tracking the prevalence of the virus.

This can be an early warning alert for new outbreaks in the future.

The finding is important as studies have shown people infected with the virus shed it through their excrement.

"The recent achievement is the outcome of cooperation between the Department of Energy and Khalifa University of Science and Technology to verify that the treated wastewater is free from Covid-19 virus and fully suitable for irrigation purposes in the emirate,” said Mohammed bin Jarash Al Falasi, undersecretary, Department of Energy, Abu Dhabi.

"This cooperation also represents a concrete step within our relentless efforts with partners in the sector to ensure that the recycled water is free from any disease."

Mr Al Falasi explained the wastewater treatment in Abu Dhabi is based on a triple treatment system.

After completing the treatment process, samples of recycled water are taken for regular analysis.

Sample results are later reviewed and monitored to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and safety of recycled water.

“Khalifa University continues to focus on projects related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the collaboration with governmental entities helps in supporting the country’s efforts in ensuring the good health of the public,” said Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

"We are delighted to offer our expertise in this area to support the country’s efforts towards reusing water and management of scarce natural resources."