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The original item was published from 5/1/2020 3:57:22 PM to 5/30/2020 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: May 1, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Safely Managing Your Building Water System After the COVID-19 Shutdown

Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing, working from home, and other epidemic response guidelines implemented on the Federal, State, and local levels can result in secondary issues in commercial buildings that may have been vacant or minimally occupied for extended periods of time (i.e., more than a few days).

As these orders are gradually lifted, businesses come back online, and workers begin to return to work, it is critical that building-related issues be identified and addressed to ensure the continued health and safety of people who begin to reoccupy these spaces.

One issue that should be considered prior to re-opening a building for occupancy is potable and non-potable water stagnation. Reduced or minimal usage of water systems during periods of low occupancy can lead to water stagnation or lack of flow. Water stagnation can create issues with water quality including microbial growth of organisms like Legionella and Pseudomonas, leaching of lead and other metals, and build-up of particulate or sediment.

The CDC has issued guidelines for bringing buildings back online after a prolonged shutdown. The CDC outlines 8 Steps to take before your business or building reopens.

  1. Develop a comprehensive water management program (WMP) for your building plumbing system and all devices that use water. Guidance to help with this process is available from CDC and others
  2. Ensure your water heater is properly maintained and the temperature is correctly set
  3. Flush your water system
  4. Clean all decorative water features, such as fountains
  5. Ensure hot tubs/spas are safe for use
  6. Ensure cooling towers are clean and well-maintained
  7. Ensure safety equipment including fire sprinkler systems, eye wash stations, and safety showers are clean and well-maintained
  8. Maintain your water system

More details on these steps are available at

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