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Posted on: May 15, 2020

Water System Safety after a Prolonged Building Shutdown

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Padre Dam’s water remains safe and clean, and water quality monitoring has continued without interruption. After the water leaves Padre Dam’s system, and without use in a customer’s building or property, water quality can deteriorate and become stagnant inside your pipelines and can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth of bacteria. Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine.

Most commercial and industrial buildings have been partially occupied even during the COVID-19 shutdown, and HVAC and water systems continue to be maintained and operated even though many employees are working remotely. However, building owners and managers should take special care with plumbing systems in buildings that have been vacant or have had periods of low water use to protect the public and employees returning to work.

That’s because plumbing systems that do not have normal/continual use, must be actively managed and maintained to prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria can flourish in pipes, fixtures and associated equipment (like fountains, cooling towers and HVAC systems) that are not used for several days or weeks.

Building owners and managers should ensure that private water lines are safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of disease. The District recommends that you follow the CDC’s Guidance for Reopening Buildings after Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html

Should you have any questions or need assistance with any water quality issues or have any questions about plumbing system safety, please call us at 619-448-3111. We are here to help.

Additional Resources: 

San Diego County Water Authority Fact Sheet 
California Water Boards

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