COVID-19 has been the talk of the nation for the last several months. For buildings that remained open, the CDC issued guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus that included restrooms, water fountains, and the like. Perhaps you taped off every other stall or urinal, or turned off the water to the water fountains.
The recent building closures and other prevention measures that the pandemic has caused has created a prime environment for the spread of the Legionella bacteria or other biofilm associated bacteria.
Dormant or underused plumbing systems contribute to Legionnaires’ disease, which is a respiratory illness with symptoms similar to COVID-19 and pneumonia. This is especially dangerous for people with weakened immune systems. The CDC has issued guidelines for reopening, but we’ve summarized them for our commercial property management professionals and building engineers so that you can take the necessary steps to help with disease prevention related to stagnant water.
FOUR WATER MANAGEMENT MUST DO’S AS YOU REOPEN YOUR BUILDING
A comprehensive water management program for your water system and all devices that use water should already be included in your standard Building Operations program. The additional reopening procedures should be considered as part of your Pandemic Plan:
Clean all decorative water features, such as fountains. All areas should be free of visible slime or biofilm before filling with water. Other water-using devices (such as ice machines or coffee maker) may require additional cleaning steps in addition to flushing.
FLUSH WATER SYSTEMS
The purpose of building flushing is to replace all water inside building piping with fresh water.
- Flush water systems (includes all toilets, water fountains, eyewash stations, etc.).
- 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.
- Flush hot water systems until the hot water reaches its maximum temperature, and verify temp reaches 110-114 degrees.
Care should be taken to minimize splashing and aerosol generation during flushing.
Ensure water heaters are properly maintained and the temperature is correctly set.
Ensure cooling towers are clean and well maintained. Follow water using device manufacturer’s instructions.
PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE BREAKAGE
Pandemic or not, the best thing you can do is maintain your water systems with regular inspections. Keep in mind: the stress of re-use on parts when a system has been underutilized can cause breakage. Whether it’s maintenance or an emergency service, GreenTeam Service Corp. is here to help.
THE GREENTEAM DIFFERENCE
What can you expect from GreenTeam? Our team analyzes service calls before sending our technicians so they can be appropriately equipped. We keep a stock of parts and have strategic sourcing partnerships so that our commercial real estate properties can be up and running with minimal wait times. Our ongoing training and experience-exchange program ensure that GreenTeam technicians leverage our entire team’s expertise.