Immediately following the issuance of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) issued recommendations for dialogue between wastewater treatment agencies and local hospitals and public health officials regarding the management of wastewater by patients infected with the Ebola virus. The recommendations, developed in close coordination with several preeminent microbiologists, are intended to offer an alternative layer of protection for workers who may come into contact with wastewater prior to its treatment. Shortly after the release of the dialogue tool CASA engaged with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), who was concerned that hospitals were receiving differing instructions on disposal of Ebola patient wastes.
In these discussions, CDPH expressed general agreement with CASA’s recommendations for pretreatment. At CDPH’s suggestion and with input and concurrence from the expert microbiologists, the guidance was revised to:
- More accurately capture the recommendations from the US Army Standard Operating Procedures.
- Include language to allay the unfounded fear of fume generation when using bleach in hospitals.
- Ensure hospitals notify wastewater agents when they admit a patient suspected or confirmed to be infected with Ebola
CASA experts include: Dr. Chuck Gerba (University of Arizona), Dr. Chuck Haas (Drexel University), Dr. Mark Sobsey (University of North Carolina). Invaluable input was also provided by Chris Stacklin (OCSD) and Naoko Munakata (LACSD). NACWA also remains in concurrence with this Guidance.
All participants agreed that there is a need for further Ebola research. CASA is currently raising funds to support an Ebola surrogate survivability study being conducted by Dr. Chuck Gerba at the Water Environment Technology Center at the University of Arizona. Many CASA members have already pledged to contribute, and additional support is welcome. Please contact Greg Kester firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the research project or to contribute.