With some businesses preparing to reopen or expand operations when the Alameda County health order is lifted, the Dublin San Ramon Services District wants to ensure that employers and their staff do so safely.
The water delivered by DSRSD “is disinfected, but not sterile,” according to the agency. DSRSD said those managing and maintaining large buildings and campuses in their Dublin and San Ramon service areas “should take precautions to ensure the water in their buildings and on their campuses is safe.”
Like any food or drink, water is also perishable, and with many businesses recently closed or minimally operating, has been sitting motionless in pipes and plumbing systems.
When water remains inactive in pipes, water heaters and storage tanks, officials said the disinfectant — chlorine — dissipates over time. Without chlorine residual in the water system, microorganisms like Legionella can grow inside, posing serious health risks. Protective film inside the pipes can also eroside, eventually dissolving the pipes themselves.
“Fortunately, water quality can be improved with proper cleaning and flushing of the entire plumbing system when a building or facility is returned to service after a prolonged closure,” agency officials said.
Some advice for business owners planning to resume or expand operations includes flushing systems to clear out stagnant water as well as help clear any copper and lead leaching from older pipes. DSRSD said this step is “especially important for schools, gyms, hotels, factories, and other facilities that have complicated on-site water systems.” Large buildings should also have a complete water management program for their on-site water system.
Thoroughly cleaning shower heads, faucets and other fixtures is also recommended. Managers and maintenance staff should also check the temperature settings for hot water heaters, and make sure tanks, cooling towers, hot tubs, ice machines, soda fountains, dishwashers and other plumbing equipment is safe for use.
For more information about COVID-19 precautions, contact Dan Martin, Water/Wastewater Systems Operations and Maintenance Supervisor, at 875-2367 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates are available at www.dsrsd.com for updates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has advice on reopening buildings after prolonged shutdown or reduced operation at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html. Information on maintaining or restoring water quality in buildings with low or no use can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website: www.epa.gov/coronavirus/information-maintaining-or-restoring-water-quality-buildings-low-or-no-use.
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