When businesses and organizations in Central New York are allowed to reopen in the coming weeks, there are potential water contamination risks associated with resuming water service in buildings that have been dormant for an extended period of time.

Prolonged building water stagnation can lead to elevated lead, copper, and Legionella levels, as well as discolored water.  Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine.

The important steps are to make sure your building water system components are properly maintained and all water fixtures are flushed of stagnant water before you reopen.

For more information, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance to ensure that building water systems and end-use devices are safe to use after a prolonged shutdown. The guidance includes 8 steps that building owners/operators should take before their business or building reopens.  In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also issued guidance on maintaining or restoring water quality in buildings with low or no use.

This guidance applies to building owners/operators managing hotels, schools, childcare facilities, office buildings, restaurants, retail establishments and public buildings. Properties that are managed as large campuses (e.g., business parks, colleges, etc.) should also be considering this CDC guidance.