ENSURE THE SAFETY OF YOUR BUILDING WATER SYSTEM AND DEVICES AFTER A PROLONGED SHUTDOWN
City of Bend’s drinking water quality continues to meet all regulatory standards and flows safely throughout our distribution system. However, when water leaves the City’s distribution system and enters private service connections, whether residential or commercial, water quality can change if the water is allowed to remain stagnant. If your business has been shutdown due to COVID-19, you may have stagnant water in your building’s water system that could cause a problem when you reopen.
Stagnant, or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria. When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease
to the Legionella growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C). Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Depending on the type of interior plumbing, there may also be risk of increased levels of lead and copper.
Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidance for building owner/operators, including steps to take before your business reopens and updated hot tub disinfection procedures. Information is available on the CDC website and CDC tookkit.
AWWA Notice on returning homes to service
When homes are returned to service after an extended period of discontinued service (e.g., weeks or months), an adult should be present in the home to ensure that the meter works, leaks are minimized, wastewater piping is intact, and the building’s plumbing is flushed. A thorough flushing process is appropriate in such situations.
You may also want to make sure that the buildings p-traps do not dry out. You can do this by flushing water down all drains to prevent sewer gas intrusion into the building.
Flushing instructions will vary depending on the structure. If you have questions regarding your home system, please consult your plumbing professional.
Links to information:
- CDC – Water and COVID-19 FAQs
- CDC - Ensure the safety of your building water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown
- CDC - Toolkit
- OHA - Oregon Health Authority
- EPA – COVID-19
- EPA - Lead
AWWA (American Water Works Association) - Returning Homes to Service