Protecting public health is our number one priority. We are taking steps to ensure the safety of our staff and the public and are working with regulated entities to provide flexibility where possible.
We are temporarily limiting some routine activities to ensure we are not putting our employees, the public, or the regulated community at risk. Every effort will be made to avoid unnecessarily disrupting regulated facilities while they respond to COVID-19.
Click to expand the resources below related to drinking water, wastewater, waste management, and air quality.
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COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water supplies. Continue using and drinking tap water as normal. There is no need to boil your water as a precaution against COVID-19.
- COVID-19 information for wastewater operators and managers
- Addendum to COVID19 information for wastewater operators
- CDC—Information for Sanitation and Wastewater Workers on COVID-19
- EPA—Coronavirus Information
- EPA—Coronavirus and Drinking Water and Wastewater
- EPA—COVID-19 Enforcement and Compliance Resources
- WHO—Information and guidance
- WEF—The water professional’s guide to COVID-19
- Implementing the hierarchy controls for wastewater worker protection
Flush only toilet paper to avoid costly damage to private and public sewer lines and treatment systems.
COVID-19 and Solid Waste
Healthcare Facilities – The most current information on COVID-19 indicates that personal protection equipment (PPE) and other wastes that may be contaminated with the virus should be managed with, and in the same manner as medical waste. Hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, special COVID-19 testing sites, and any other facility where waste PPE is generated in significant numbers should coordinate with their medical waste transporter and make plans for an increase in medical waste volume. Please be aware that PPE thrown in the trash and not managed as medical waste can be transferred to numerous vehicles and waste sites before being landfilled, potentially exposing a significant number of sanitation workers to the waste.
Households – In order to protect sanitation workers, households with residents infected or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 should carefully and tightly enclose any waste that may be contaminated with the virus in heavy-duty bags, double-bag the waste, and ensure that curbside containers are not overfilled so the lids can close completely. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling any COVID-19 waste.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is monitoring COVID-19 waste issues and will update this information as necessary. Please contact your DEQ regional office or the Solid Waste Program Manager at 208-373-0121 if you have any questions.
- CDC—Open Burning During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- CDC—COVID-19: What you need to know
- DEQ—COVID-19 Wastes – see the Waste Management and Remediation accordion above
- DEQ—Public asked to refrain from nonessential open burning
COVID-19 can affect the respiratory system (nose, throat, lungs), cause asthma attacks, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.
To avoid impacting communities struggling to contain COVID-19, DEQ asks residents to refrain from residential open burning or other non-essential open burning activities until further notice. This includes burning tree limbs, leaves, yard trimmings, garden waste, burn barrels, and other residential outdoor burning activities.
Alternatives to burning:
- Lawn mulching—Leave grass clippings on your lawn to add nutrients back into the soil and improve lawn health.
- Composting—Compost yard waste to recycle organic material and add nutrients back into the soil.
- Chipping—Add chipped brush, pruning, or wood waste to your compost pile or soil to increase nutrient content.
- Curbside pickup—Collect and separate yard waste, organic material, and recyclables and set them out for curbside collection. Check with your local government or waste management company for local services.
- Landfills—Many landfills offer free or reduced fees for yard waste.
Burning materials such as personal protective equipment, paper masks, or disinfectant wipes is prohibited since these materials could be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Contact DEQ’s Solid Waste Program for disposal information.