Bryn Mawr, Pa. – Aqua Pennsylvania, a utility company that serves about 1.4 million Pennsylvanians, is advising businesses that have been closed for prolonged periods due to COVID-19 (or any other reason) to thoroughly flush their internal plumbing before resuming operations.
“While buildings have been closed over extended periods of time, water that has been sitting in unused pipes, equipment like ice machines, and building systems can become stagnant and produce undesirable tastes or odors when the building is reopened and people begin using the water normally again,” said Aqua Pennsylvania President Marc Lucca. “An extended period of inactivity can degrade water quality. It could also cause bacteria like legionella to grow. It’s important that customers take proper steps to alleviate these potential issues.”
Lucca added that customers should thoroughly flush building plumbing, including water heaters, before reopening for normal use by running all cold-water lines first followed by running hot-water lines. Thorough flushing includes operating all sink, tub, shower and toilet fixtures. Safety equipment such as eye washes, safety showers and fire sprinkler systems might also require assessment and necessary maintenance.
Standard plumbing equipment should be flushed as follows:
- Toilets should be flushed several times to ensure fresh water moves through piping.
- Faucets and showers should be allowed to run for approximately 10 minutes in total, with cold taps running first followed by hot taps.
“We recommend flushing other appliances thoroughly to bring fresh water into the system,” said Lucca. “We also advise customers to run water until they can detect the smell of chlorine in the water. Customers should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing water filters on appliances like refrigerators and ice makers.”
For more information about flushing plumbing systems, check out this document from Aqua America.