Flush stagnant water from plumbing of closed businesses prior to reopening

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 5/11/20

As businesses restart operations after the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the Port Townsend Water Department is reminding all building owners and managers of the importance of maintaining good water …

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Flush stagnant water from plumbing of closed businesses prior to reopening

Posted

As businesses restart operations after the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the Port Townsend Water Department is reminding all building owners and managers of the importance of maintaining good water quality by flushing your water system before reopening. 

Stagnant or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria and other water-borne illnesses.

Flushing a building’s water system, which includes pipes and water-using devices, replaces all water inside the building piping with fresh water. 

All businesses, buildings and schools that have been closed should follow the guidance set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html.

The guidance provides a list of eight steps to take before reopening a building to ensure the water quality and safety of the building’s water system.

The list also includes information about decorative water features such as fountains, hot tubs and spas, cooling towers and safety equipment.

Necessary steps include: 

  • Flush hot and cold water through all points of use, such as showers and sink faucets. 
  • Flushing may need to occur in segments, such as floors or individual rooms, due to a given facility’s size and water pressure, since the purpose of building flushing is to replace all the water inside the building’s piping with fresh water. 
  • Flush until the hot water reaches its maximum temperature.
  • Ensure safety equipment — including fire sprinkler systems, eyewash stations and safety showers — is clean and well-maintained, and regularly flush, clean and disinfect these systems according to their manufacturers’ specifications. 

The Washington State Department of Health has also developed guidance on maintaining the building plumbing prior to re-opening, and additional shock chlorination guidance if Legionella is detected in the building plumbing.

If you have any questions, call the Port Townsend Department of Water Quality at 360-379-5001.

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