UTICA, N.Y. – The Mohawk Valley Water Authority is reminding property owners that plumbing systems need to be maintained, even if buildings are not in use.
MVWA says stagnant water can develop, which can lead to a drop in chlorine levels. Without the proper amount of chlorine, harmful bacteria like Legionella can develop. Stagnant water can also cause leaching of metals from pipes, which can discolor water and increase lead levels.
To ensure water can be safely used when the buildings are reoccupied, MVWA suggests implementing a Water Quality Mitigation Plan, by following the procedures below:
- Inspection of all internal water system components to ensure they are still functional and not leaking.
- Thorough flushing of both cold and hot water systems through every tap (including drinking fountains, sinks, and showers).
- Post flushing temperature measurement (on cold water system) to ensure stagnant water is removed. (water temperature during May should be around 50 degrees)
- Post flushing testing for free chlorine residual to ensure flushing was successful.
- Draining, cleaning and disinfecting hot water storage tanks.
- Flushing, draining, and/or cleaning of entry point treatment systems such as softeners or particulate filters.
- Bacteriological testing of some representative cold water taps used for drinking or cooking. MVWA can provide lab services related to this effort on a fee basis. Click here for additional information.
- Businesses in smaller buildings (beauty shops, automotive repair facilities, restaurants, etc.) should thoroughly flush every tap (sinks, drinking fountains, showers) for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Every building plumbing system is unique, so it will be important to consider the plumbing system design when developing a mitigation plan. There are several resources available to use to develop a plan, including: