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Guidance for Businesses Re-opening & Water Flushing
As the State of Ohio initiates its Responsible Restart Ohio approach to COVID-19, The City of Athens is providing the following guidance to homeowners and business owners as they begin to reoccupy properties.
If water is not used for a long period of time it becomes stagnant, creating the potential for growth of bacteria and accumulation of sediments in the water. When buildings and homes are vacated for an extended period, the stagnation of water within the plumbing can lead to water quality deterioration that may be associated with public health risks.
To ensure the water remains safe and to protect against bacteria which could possibly include Legionella, The following guidelines are recommended for business owners and property managers.
Protection Against Bacteria
Stagnant water at room temperature can provide an environment for growth of bacteria, including Legionella bacteria. The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) and the OAPI (Ohio Association of Plumbing Inspectors) have created steps to take in order to safely reduce stagnant water. The focus of this guidance is to reduce bacteria growth and other pathogen and corrosion concerns that occur when there is a significant drop in building water use. The guidance focuses on potable water distribution systems inside buildings.
When water service has been shut off for some time, it is recommended to “flush” sinks, faucets, showers, tubs, and other plumbing components. “Flushing” is running water for a period of time, and in a specific order. Discoloration may occur during flushing. If the discoloration persists for more than 30 minutes, repeat the flushing protocol. If it continues to persist, contact a licensed plumber.
The following step-by-step instructions can help replace stagnant water in water pipes with fresh water:
This guidance can be modified to fit the needs of larger structures, including office buildings, schools and hospitals. Pease refer to the Ohio EPA document titled: Guidance for Premise Plumbing Water Service Restoration for more information on how to improve water quality.
For a typical home and small businesses with 8 taps, the cost would be approximately $3.50 to perform flushing for 30 minutes.
We encourage business owners and homeowners to take the necessary steps as they begin to reoccupy businesses. Additional resources can be found at: