Important water quality information

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown restrictions in place over the last couple of months has meant a significant number of our customers have been forced to close, potentially causing water within the building’s plumbing system to become stagnant. This can cause the water quality to deteriorate within the plumbing in the following ways:

  • Warming of water.
  • Growth of micro-organisms (eg, bacteria, legionella).
  • Increased leaching of metals found in plumbing.
  • Taste and odour from prolonged contact with some plumbing materials.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published guidance on water safety in buildings and within this it states that poor design and management of water systems in buildings can cause outbreaks of disease. More latterly, the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease has published a series of documents aimed at ensuring building water systems are safe during and after the CoViD-19 crisis.

There are potential risks to health using stagnant water. There are some simple steps should be taken to reduce this risk before the building is reoccupied and the water used.

What you can do to reduce risk

Suggested steps to remove stagnant water

  1. Identify all items that use water within the building (taps, showers, appliances, toilets, urinals, drinks machines, bathrooms, etc.) and any water storage (tanks and cisterns). Anything storing water should be emptied and refilled first.
  2. Then gently flush all cold water outlets individually starting with the tap nearest to where the water enters the building and move systematically to the most distant outlet, including flushing toilets. Flush until the water is cool to the touch or the same temperature as the water closest to where it enters the building.
  3. Minimise the potential of creating aerosols by flushing gently, removing aerators, shower heads and any other tap inserts or attachments. Close toilet seat lids before flushing.
  4. If there are any outlets that require servicing or cleaning by an external contractor (eg coffee machines, drinks machines) switch off the supply to them and do not use until a contractor can visit.
  5. Ensure appliances are flushed and internal filters and softeners are checked to ensure they are flushed and working correctly as outlined in manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Once the cold water has flushed through, repeat the process with the hot water outlets.

There is further information on the Water UK and DWI websites (links also below).

We hope you find this information useful.

More Coronavirus information