A floor drain

Contributed By Waterless, CO., Inc.

One of the things we learned from the SARS epidemic that began in 2002 is that many people in Hong Kong contracted the SARS virus by inhaling contaminated air. This air was released from dried out drainage pipes of a large apartment complex in the city. What happened was the water in the P-shaped traps below drains dried up. When that occurred, sewer gasses containing the germs that cause SARS were released into the building and were inhaled.

We are learning now that COVID-19 is also being spread through the fecal-oral route. This was pointed out by research conducted by Hong Shan, MD, Ph.D., of the Fifth Affiliated Hospital, at Sun Yat-Sen University, in Zhuhai, China. 

This research means that waste containing COVID-19 germs is ending up in sewer systems around the globe. However, there is even more concern about this happening with COVID-19.

The reason: Many commercial facilities are now closed. When they will open again is uncertain, which means the P-traps may evaporate, releasing vapors that can spread the virus, according to Waterless CO., Inc.

Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless CO., Inc, says building owners and mangers can take the following steps to prevent these evaporation issues:

- Ensure all commercial kitchens and restrooms remain well-ventilated during the pandemic.

- If possible, have building engineers wearing personal protective equipment pour a small amount of water in every building drain every week.

- Do not use bleach or any chemicals, as the goal is not to clean the drains, but to keep the P-trap full. 

- Pour liquid primers into all drains just one time during the closure of the building.

When it's time to re-open the facilities, water and liquid primer should be poured into all drains again, just to be safe, says Reichardt.