Water Safety Advisory Related to Reopening Buildings

Business owners, facility managers advised to flush building plumbing systems before reopening

As state, county and local officials begin to prepare to allow for some businesses and facilities to reopen, health officials and water experts are advising building owners and managers to take steps to ensure water safety in buildings that have been closed the past several weeks.

Stagnant water in plumbing systems could harbor bacteria or higher concentrations of some metals that could be present in building plumbing systems.  Under normal occupancy and water use conditions, water flows through these plumbing systems and is kept fresh and healthy, avoiding the harmful effects of stagnant water.  The fix for stagnant water in plumbing it to flush it through building pipes and replace it with fresh water from a connected public water system prior to re-opening a building or facility.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and Purdue University’s Center for Plumbing Safety have resources available to help building owners, facility managers and local water providers prepare for the resumption of operations.

EPA: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-05/documents/final_checklist_for_maintaining_building_water_quality_5-6-2020.pdf

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html

AWWA:  https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resource-Topics/Coronavirus#lt-10681543-shutoffs-and-return-to-service-guidance

Purdue:  https://engineering.purdue.edu/PlumbingSafety/covid19/building-water-safety-study