Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania – Aqua Pennsylvania, a utility company serving approximately 1.4 million Pennsylvania residents, advises companies that have been closed for long periods of time due to COVID-19 (or other reasons) to thoroughly flush their internal plumbing before leaving resume operations.
“While buildings have been closed for extended periods of time, water that has sat in unused pipes, equipment such as ice machines and building systems can stagnate and create undesirable tastes or smells when the building is reopened and people are using the water normally again,” said Marc Lucca, president of Aqua Pennsylvania. “A long period of inactivity can affect the water quality. It could also cause bacteria such as legionella to grow. It is important that customers take appropriate action to resolve these potential problems. “
Lucca added that customers should flush building installations, including water heaters, thoroughly before reopening them for normal use by running all cold water pipes first and then hot water pipes. Thorough flushing includes the operation of all washbasin, bathtub, shower and toilet fittings. Safety equipment such as eye wash, safety showers, and sprinkler systems may also need to be assessed and serviced.
Standard installation devices should be flushed as follows:
- Toilets should be flushed several times to ensure fresh water flows through the plumbing.
- Taps and showers should run for a total of about 10 minutes, with cold taps running first, followed by hot taps.
“We recommend flushing other equipment thoroughly to bring fresh water into the system,” said Lucca. “We also recommend that our customers run water until they can see the smell of chlorine in the water. Customers should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing water filters on equipment such as refrigerators and ice machines. “
For more information on flushing plumbing systems, see this document from Aqua America.