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Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation

Post Date:06/03/2020

FaucetStagnant or standing water in a plumbing system can increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria. When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease to the Legionella growth range. Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.

To minimize Legionella risk before your business or building reopens you should flush your water system as follows:

  • Flush hot and cold water through all points of use (e.g., showers, sink faucets). Flushing may need to occur in segments (e.g., floors, individual rooms) due to facility size and water pressure. The purpose of building flushing is to replace all water inside building piping with fresh water.
  • Flush until the hot water reaches its maximum temperature.
  • Care should be taken to minimize splashing and aerosol generation during flushing.
  • Other water-using devices, such as ice machines, may require additional cleaning steps in addition to flushing, such as discarding old ice. Follow water-using device manufacturers’ instructions.
For more guidance from the CDC, visit
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