Water and wastewater as potential sources of SARS-CoV-2 transmission: a systematic review

Rev Environ Health. 2021 Feb 17;36(3):309-317. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2020-0148. Print 2021 Sep 27.


An important group of viruses are Coronaviruses that affect the health of people worldwide, in particular the acute respiratory syndrome. The present work has addressed the updated literature on the topic of coronaviruses transmission through water and wastewater as well as identified gaps in research to inform future studies. In total, 198 articles were selected, then after screening, 48 eligible studies were fully reviewed. Accordingly, the studies showed that the coronavirus has been isolated and identified from water as well as wastewater. The results of researches show that the presence of SARS-Co-2 virus in municipal wastewater is possible due to the excretion of the virus in human feces. In addition, the SARS-Co-2 virus was isolated from contaminated water and rivers, but there is insufficient evidence for virus transmission by water and wastewater. Water and wastewater treatment methods are able to reduce the pollution load caused by this virus in water sources. Water disinfection has an effective role in removing it from water and wastewater sources. Due to the short period of time in the global pandemic and the small number of studies in this field, further studies are needed to make a definite statement about the transferability of virus in water and wastewater.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; coronavirus transmission; wastewater; water.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification*
  • Waste Water / virology*
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Pollution / analysis
  • Water Purification / standards


  • Waste Water