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Businesses that have been closed should flush out water systems

The Escondido Utilities Department worked with the Communications Department and Economic Development to develop business outreach to commercial, industrial, dining, and retail operators that have been completely closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Escondido’s Utilities Department has provided clean and safe drinking water throughout the pandemic, but water sitting in the internal plumbing of a closed building could be unsafe for drinking. Businesses that have not been occupied are being advised to flush internal plumbing systems to clear the potentially stagnant water prior to building occupancy. 

Buildings that have been occupied, even partially, during the pandemic do not need to take these steps because the plumbing in these buildings is routinely refreshed with water from the City’s water distribution system. 

Drinking water provided by the City of Escondido continues to meet all state and federal drinking water standards.

Many commercial and industrial buildings remained operational during the pandemic, and HVAC and water systems are maintained and operated even though many employees are working remotely.

Plumbing inside buildings that have been closed due to COVID-19 will require special care when reopening. After drinking water leaves the City’s distribution system and enters a private plumbing system, water quality can deteriorate if water becomes stagnant.

This issue affects commercial and industrial buildings worldwide.

Building owners and managers should take special care to ensure water quality and safety when reopening buildings that have been vacant or have had periods of low water use.

Bacteria can grow in pipes, fixtures and associated equipment (like fountains, cooling towers and HVAC systems) that are not used for even a few days.

Schools commonly flush pipes before children and teachers return from breaks.

Flushing the entire building plumbing system will help prepare a building for occupancy.

During flushing, all valves and fixtures should be fully opened, aerator screens should be removed, and shower heads should be disinfected.

More information for building owners and managers is available at the San Diego County Water Authority’s website (sdcwa.org).

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