Reminders on Reopening Buildings and Maintaining Water Quality

As the Governor’s newest Executive Order has lifted some of the previous restrictions on indoor activities and events, some businesses may be reopening after a prolonged period of closure. Even if businesses were not completely closed, many buildings have been experiencing periods of little to no water usage. When water sits in a building’s plumbing system, water quality issues can arise.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued recommendations for community and noncommunity public water systems earlier on in the pandemic, but it is important to remember this information as periods of little to no water usage continue. See the basic information below that applies to your situation, as well as links to more information from MDH.

Community Public Water Systems (Utilities and Building Owners):

Water utilities should take action to prevent issues. This includes working with the facilities in your community, particularly the owners and managers of larger buildings. It is recommended to provide building owners and managers with guidance on how to adequately flush the plumbing systems in their buildings. Consider flushing water mains that serve commercial districts or schools. Be sure to notify the building owners prior and recommend they flush internal plumbing as well before using the water.

Water utilities should see the MDH handout: Ensuring Water Quality in Building Premise Plumbing (water utilities) for more information on flushing and for more recommendations on things to communicate with building owners about. The handout also includes links to many more resources.

Building owners and managers should also take action to prevent issues, including flushing all water in your building. It is important that large building owners share their flushing schedules with any other large users in their immediate area in order to avoid a low pressure incident and/or high water demand. Also keep an eye out for information about upcoming flushing of water mains near your building.

Building owners and managers should see the MDH handout: Ensuring Water Quality in Building Premise Plumbing (building owners and managers) for more information on flushing and for more recommendations on actions to take. The handout also includes links to many more resources.

It is important to remember that the water utility and the building owner or manager both have important actions to take.

Noncommunity Public Water Systems:

Noncommunity public water systems are different than community systems, as the water system owner and building owner are often the same person. These systems provide water to the public in places other than their homes. Examples of these systems include restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that get their water from their own well or small system of wells.

If you are reopening your noncommunity public water system after a period of low or no use, you should follow the System Reopening and Maintaining Water Quality guidance from MDH. Broadly, this guidance includes information on a reopening and maintenance plan that should be followed to maintain safe and sanitary water quality. The plan should include a self-inspection, an integrity check, flushing stagnant water, disinfection of the well and water system, and testing of the water. Please see the guidance for more information on each of these components.

Noncommunity public water systems that completely depressurized their distribution system(s) should instead follow the Start-Up Procedure for Seasonal Public Water Systems.

More Information and FAQ:

For more information, including answers to many frequently asked questions, be sure to go to the MDH Public Water Systems and COVID-19 website. There you can also find contact information for MDH staff that are available to help you.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress