Quality can deteriorate when water is left sitting in pipes --- building owners should proactively flush water pipes before reoccupying

Flush the pipes, move the contaminants, Maine Water Co. advises

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 8:00am

    Maine Water Encourages Businesses, Municipalities, Schools and Operators of Vacant Properties To Flush Pipes To Maintain Water Quality

    During Gov. Mills’ four stage plan for the gradual re-opening of Maine’s economy, Maine Water recommends that building owners and property managers flush internal plumbing systems upon returning to any building that may have been vacant or infrequently used over the last several weeks.

    Water coming from the Maine Water system into the building through the water main will be safe to drink and continues to meet all state and federal drinking water requirements, but water that sits inside a building’s pipes for long periods of time can become stagnant and may become discolored or allow bacteria to grow or cause unwanted contaminants to leach from pipe materials, according to a May 13 news release from Maine Water.

    o avoid these concerns, it is highly recommended to flush the water through the system inside the property prior to resuming regular water use. This ensures that the water consumed is safe to use after the prolonged shutdown.

    Most property owners can flush their buildings by running the taps from all points of use for roughly 10 minutes. (For example: showers, all sink faucets.)

    Flushing may need to occur in segments depending on facility size and water pressure. The purpose of the flushing is to replace all water inside the building’s piping with fresh water from the water main. Flush each point of use/tap on both the hot water and cold water taps.

    Flush until the hot water reaches its maximum temperature and flush the cold water until it reaches a steady cool temperature. It is also a good idea to replace any filters if water filtration systems are used in the building. Larger facilities may need to take additional measures.

    Owners of residential properties that have been vacant should also flush their cold water lines before using or consuming the tap water. 

    For additional information, see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Flushing Best Practices; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guidance on Building Water Systems, or the American Water Works Association’s Return to Service Guidance. Customers are also welcome to call Maine Water at 1-800-287-1643.

    About Maine Water: Maine Water serves 32,000 customers, or a population of 100,000, in over 20 communities throughout the state of Maine. For more information, visit MaineWater.com.

    Links referenced in news release:

    Flushing Best Practices: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-09/documents/flushing_best_practices_factsheet_508.pdf

    Guidance on Building Water Systems: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html

    Return To Service Guidance: https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resource-Topics/Coronavirus#10681543-shutoffs-and-return-to-service-guidance