Water Quality Considerations for Reopening Buildings After Closures
As a building owner and operator, you are responsible for the water quality in your building and should understand what could happen when water is left stagnant. The longer the building has low water use, the higher the risk for water quality issues. During COVID-19, reduced or no water use in buildings may present health risks. It is critical that you understand precautions needed for reopening your building and maintaining a safe water supply.
Water quality concerns from low or no water use in buildings
When water in buildings is not used, the disinfectant, like chlorine, used to treat the water is depleted and may result in growth of microorganisms in pipes and fixtures. Disinfectant is used to treat water and maintain potable water in distributions systems. Water left in pipes and fixtures may also absorb toxic metals such as lead from plumbing.
Prepare a plan to restore water quality and consider hiring experts. Communication should be provided to all building occupants explaining measures being taken to restore water quality.
Before opening your building, review the resources below, and check with your local municipality for any additional requirements.
- Canadian Water and Wastewater Association Guidance COVID-19 reopening of buildings
- The Water Research Foundation - Flushing Guidance for Premise Plumbing and Service Lines to Avoid or Address a Drinking Water Advisory
- AWWA Covid-19 Shutoffs and Return to Service Guidance
Does Municipal Water Treatment Kill the Virus?
- Yes, municipal water treatment kills viruses, including the coronavirus. That means the virus does not pose any threat to our drinking water. Municipal water continues to be clean, reliable and safe to drink.
Health Canada’s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality has more details on how water treatment keeps us safe from viruses.