Businesses receive tips for continuation of water usage post-COVID-19 shutdown

The City of Parker will waive late fees and will not do any water cutoffs through April 21,...
The City of Parker will waive late fees and will not do any water cutoffs through April 21, 2020. (Pixabay)(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 2:15 PM CDT
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As Kansas reopens the City of Lawrence is offering tips to businesses who may have had a dormant water period due to the COVID-19 pandemic says City Hall.

The City says that as a community water provider they are offering tips to businesses to return their water usage to normal.

In a release sent by the City they say that due to businesses’ water lines laying inactive during the coronavirus shut down it is necessary to keep treated water safe. Due to the inactivity there are increased risks of microbial and bacteria Legionella contamination.

The City says that Legionella contamination may increase when hot water devices cool to temperatures that promote bacteria growth, usually around 77-108 degrees Fahrenheit.

The issue, although not COVID-19 related, is related to effects that can occur due to stagnant water such as water sitting in pipes during the health crisis.

Tips from the City are as follows:

1. Flush hot and cold water lines through all points of use. This may need to occur in segments based on the size of the facility and water pressure. The purpose of flushing is to replace all water inside piping with fresh water. The City of Lawrence advises businesses to flush until hot water reaches its maximum temperature. Businesses should flush lines frequently until operations are fully restored.

2. Ensure water heaters have been maintained correctly and the temperature is on the correct setting. The City of Lawrence suggests to contact manufacturers to see if they recommend draining water heaters after a prolonged period of disuse. The heater should be set to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Ensure cooling towers are well maintained and clean. The City of Lawrence says that towers and basins should be free of visible slime or biofilm before water is used in the facility. Ensure that cooling towers have been maintained per the guidelines of the manufacturer.

4. Clean all decorative features, such as fountains. The City of Lawrence says to make sure that all features are free of visible slime or biofilm and to measure disinfectant levels after the water feature has been refilled.

5. Ensure hot tubs and spas are safe to use. The City of Lawrence suggests to check existing guidelines from local and state regulatory agencies before using these. Ensure that hot tubs and spas are free of visible slime or biofilm before filling them with water.

6. Ensure safety equipment, such as fire sprinkler systems, eyewash stations and safety showers are clean and well-maintained. The City of Lawrence suggest regularly flushing, cleaning and disinfecting safety systems according to the specifications of the manufacturers.

7. Maintain your water system. The City of Lawrence says that after water systems have returned to normal to ensure the risk of Legionella is minimized by checking water quality parameters often such as temperature, pH and disinfectant levels.

The City says that low levels of chlorine in treated water serves as a safeguard against microbial contamination post-treatment.

The City of Lawrence states that Legionella is a pathogenic bacteria that can cause a pneumonia-type illness called Legionnaires’ disease and a mild flu-like illness called Pontiac fever. The disease is not transmissible from person to person and most exposed do not become ill.

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