Businesses Urged to Flush Water Lines Before Reopening
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DHH says stagnant water can pose health issues in sites shut down for extended period
Alexandria, La. (May 1, 2020) — As businesses that have been closed due to efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus prepare for phased in reopening activities, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals notes owners need to flush water lines before resuming normal activities to reduce the risk of illness from static water.
The guidance applies to any site, residential or commercial, that has been shut down or inactive for an extended period. Officials note plumbing lines need to be flushed and items that use water, such as icemakers, should be cleaned and refilled before people start ingesting water from any dormant system.
The American Water Works Association offers the following guidance for flushing protocols to safely return to service:
• Remove or bypass devices like point-of-entry treatment units prior to flushing.
• Take steps to prevent backflow or the siphoning of contaminants into plumbing (e.g., close valves separating irrigation systems from home plumbing, disconnect hoses attached to faucets, etc.)
• Organize flushing to maximize the flow of water. This includes opening all outlets simultaneously to flush the service line and then flushing outlets individually starting near where the water enters the structure.
• Run water through all outlets, such as hose bibs, faucets, showerheads, toilets, etc. Also remove aerators when possible. Typical flushing durations range from 10 to 30 minutes for each outlet.
• Flush cold water lines first, and then hot water lines. Note: the hot water tank can be drained directly; it can require roughly 45 minutes to fully flush a typical 40-gallon hot water tank.
• Replace all point-of-use filters, including the filter in refrigerators.
• Additional precautions may be warranted if there is excessive disruption of pipe scale or if there are concerns about biofilm development. Actions that might be warranted include continued use of bottled water, installation of a point-of-use filter device, or engaging a contractor to thoroughly clean the plumbing system.
The information provided and maintained on this website is believed to be accurate and reliable. However, the City of Alexandria shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of any data provided herein.