GUIDANCE FOR BUILDING OWNERS RETURNING TO SERVICE – RE-OPENING FACILITIES
Since the Stay at Home/Shelter in Place Order was issued by the Governor, many buildings and facilities have closed and been unoccupied for a sustained period of time with little to no water use. As companies begin to transition back to operations and re-open, it is important to understand that the water contained within buildings/facilities may be stagnant and water quality may be compromised due to lack of use. Each building is different and many building owners already have plans in place to assure appropriate water quality within their buildings under such conditions.
LCWSA treats its public drinking water and maintains chlorine and residual disinfectant throughout the distribution system where it is delivered to customers for use. As an essential business, LCWSA continued operations and maintenance throughout March and April without interruption to maintain safe drinking water for our customers. We have been flushing our distribution mains in the Halls Station, Lycoming Mall, and Village Water areas to further assure water quality.
While we can maintain water quality to a building’s point of connection, once the water is contained within a building and usage has stopped, the water may become stagnant and begin to degrade. You may find that the water has taste and odor issues, discoloration, and little to no disinfectant remaining. Building owners are responsible for maintaining water quality after the metered connection.
Proper flushing of the internal plumbing within your facility is critical to assure clean drinking water for use. Fresh water should be drawn into building water systems and stagnant water flushed out/through before re-opening.
Building owners/facility managers should be sure to have their maintenance staff follow their protocols for re-opening and/or check with a plumber for additional guidance. Additional information can be found on the CDC website and other plumbing and trade organizations. The link to the CDC guidance is below along with the ESPI (Environmental Science, Policy & Research Institute) link to assist you during the challenges of closure and re-opening due to COVID.
GUIDANCE FOR BUILDING WATER SYSTEMS | CDC
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.