Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many business closed their facilities. Now, as regions are reopening, business owners should be thinking about something they may not have had to give a lot of thought to before: the water quality in their buildings.
If your business has experienced low, or no water flow conditions in your building due to a shutdown, you should be exercising caution in re-opening regarding your water.
Treatment plants have continued to operate and meet the same water standards as always during this time. This includes the use of residual disinfectant levels in order to inhibit microbial growth in transit. However, even under normal circumstances, the residual disinfectant typically dissipates in a matter of days or weeks.
Water Quality in Your Building May be Stagnant & Degraded
Since many businesses have closed their facilities for weeks or even months at a time, the quality of water in service lines to commercial buildings and within those buildings may have degraded and become stagnant.
This significantly increases the risk from opportunistic pathogens like Legionella, some Mycobacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This is of particular concern where water use produces aerosols, even including simple toilet flushing.
Growth of non-pathogenic organisms could also impact the taste or smell of a water supply. Finally, bacterial growth in stagnant water may also foul or plug water treatment systems if not brought back on line appropriately.
3 Things Every Business Needs to Know Now
- According to the U.S. EPA, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies at this time.
- Residual disinfectants added by utilities typically degrade in a matter of days or weeks.
- Stagnation in service lines and facility plumbing may pose significant risks to water quality.
Things to Keep in Mind for Your Business Reopening Plan
It takes a concerted effort at every level to prepare businesses from a safe water perspective. Utilities, public health authorities, engineers, building owners, plumbers, water treatment professionals and business owners may all need to be involved.
Tips for Business Owners
- Understand what actions were taken to bring the building back into service, e.g., flushing, chlorination, etc.
- Engage a plumber and/or water treatment professional to service/clean the water treatment equipment within your control
- Communicate with employees and customers about actions taken
- Consider point-of-entry UV treatment to mitigate future waterborne microbial risks
After the flushing and disinfecting of the plumbing, your business can now create its own “water ecosystem”. Installing a point-of-entry ultraviolet (UV) system will provide a disinfection barrier to minimize risk now and mitigate future stagnant water problems.
Key Advantages of UV Disinfection
- UV is a chemical-free, environmentally-friendly process, that adds nothing to the water and will not change taste or odor of the water.
- Requires no transportation, storage or handling of toxic or corrosive chemicals.
- Highly effective at inactivating a broad range of microorganisms – including chlorine-resistant pathogens like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
Any subsequent reopenings resulting from COVID-19 or even a boil water advisory will be made simpler and more convenient with your UV system already installed.
Tips for Building Owners
- Contact your government environmental public health departments for advice about building water safety
- Work with qualified professionals to bring all building services, including water and sewer, back online
- Communicate information provided by the health department to your building occupants
Tips for Water Treatment Professionals
- Try to engage building owners before water services are brought back online
- Protect water treatment equipment from further contamination during service line and plumbing flushes
- Perform proper flushing, cleaning, sanitizing and servicing of water treatment systems
We’re Here to Help
Take a look at our residential, light commercial and industrial UV water treatment systems.
With over 500,000 installations around the world, VIQUA is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands of residential and light commercial UV water disinfection systems. Homeowners and small business owners rely on VIQUA point-of-entry and point-of-use UV systems to disinfect drinking water and safeguard against microbiological contaminants.
Aquafine UV water treatment systems are trusted in a variety of industrial and commercial applications, including food and beverage, microelectronics, pharmaceutical, aquaculture, and power generation. These robust systems meet the changing requirements and needs of a diverse customer base around the world, notably for TOC reduction, chlorine and chloramine destruction, ozone destruction and disinfection.
Let us help you understand how to leverage UV to minimize stagnant water risks going forward. Simply fill out the form below.
Further Resources and References
¹ Building Owner Resources
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Information on Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use
- Purdue Engineering, FAQs on Building Water Safety in Response to COVID-19
² Water Treatment Professional Resources
- Water Quality Association (WQA), General Guidance for Water Treatment Professionals on Proper Maintenance of Treatment Systems as Shelter-in-Place Orders are Lifted [pdf: 1,357 KB]
³ Business Owner Resources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
- Pacific Water Institute, Water and the Pandemic: Reopening Buildings After Shutdowns: Reducing Water-Related Health Risks