WHITMAN — The Town of Whitman would like to share guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regarding the issue of stagnant water in buildings resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some buildings and facilities have had little or no water running through the pipes and fixtures for an extended period of time. These stagnant water conditions can result in discolored water, lower chlorine levels, higher concentrations of lead and copper and even the proliferation of Legionella, under certain building conditions.
Fresh water should be drawn into the building water systems and stagnant water flushed out before the buildings are re-opened.
MassDEP and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend that building owners and managers take proactive steps to protect public health by minimizing water stagnation during closures and taking action to address building water quality prior to re-opening. These steps include:
- Review and understand the plumbing configuration and water usage in your building.
- Inspect the plumbing to ensure it is functioning properly and is in good condition.
- Contact your water utility if you have questions on water use and quality in your area. For a list of Massachusetts public water suppliers click here.
- Maintain any water treatment systems used in the building, such as any point-of-entry or point-of-use filters or water softeners.
- Maintain the hot water system, including keeping the temperature at or above 120°F per CDC guidance to prevent Legionella growth.
- Flush the building’s plumbing system regularly.
- Maintain all non-drinking water building water systems and devices according to the manufacturer’s specifications, such as sprinkler systems, eye-wash stations and safety showers, decorative fountains/water features, spas, hot tubs, pools and cooling towers.
- Consider developing a water management program for your building water systems and all devices that use water.
Additional resources are available from the MassDEP and EPA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued guidance for re-opening buildings after a prolonged shutdown or reduced operation, which can be found here.