As some businesses begin to reopen, Desert Water Agency reminds stores, businesses and any unoccupied buildings to run stagnant water down the drain before drinking or using for other typical uses. Water sitting still in pipes for extended periods can build up microbes or mold and become discolored.
“Seasonal residents are familiar with flushing water when they return from long absences,” said DWA Lab Director, Paul Monroy. “Out of an abundance of caution and pursuant to CDC guidelines, we’re recommending any buildings that have been vacant to flush water when they return to operation.”
Cold water should run out of all fixtures for five to ten minutes. This clears water out that has been sitting stagnant in pipes on private property and brings in the clean water that is in the public system. If water heaters were turned off, businesses should also run the hot water from one fixture until it reaches its maximum temperature.
“While running the water for more than five minutes may seem wasteful, safety is our top priority,” said DWA Outreach & Conservation Manager, Ashley Metzger. “People can collect some of the water being flushed to use on landscaping or to put in the toilet tank. It shouldn’t be used for household purposes or to put into the pool.”
The Agency also cautions hotels, spas, vacation rentals and homes that were vacant to ensure that hot tubs are safe for use and any water features and cooling towers have been cleaned and maintained per CDC guidance.
In light of recent business shutdowns and the gradual reopenings, the Centers for Disease Control is encouraging building occupants to flush stagnant water as they return to business. CDC has a website section dedicated to water system safety for buildings.
Desert Water Agency conducts thousands of tests a year to ensure tap water safety. Tap water remains a safe and reliable choice during this public health crisis. A World Health Organization report released in March affirmed that chlorination of tap water is effective at eliminating the coronavirus. The Agency’s most recent water quality report is posted at www.dwa.org/wqr