COVID-19 Update: Commercial Building Owners and Managers Should Prepare Water Systems as Businesses Reopen

THE WOODLANDS, Texas, April 30, 2020 – As more buildings are reopened and come back online in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, The Woodlands Water Agency urges extraordinary care in managing water systems.

State and federal agencies warn that stagnant water in pipes, ice machines, water fountains, and other devices must be flushed to avoid contamination. In our community, The Woodlands Water Agency just finished a township-wide flushing of fire hydrants, confirming the water distribution system is flushed and clear.

James M. Stinson, P.E., the Woodlands Water general manager, said, “For our customers whose commercial buildings were closed recently, we want to help them ensure the safety of their building water systems and devices. We recommend following state and federal guidance on restarting water systems in commercial buildings.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), stagnant or standing water in buildings can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionnaire’s Disease (Legionella) and other bacteria. Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. The CDC recommends these actions before reopening your commercial building:

  • Develop a comprehensive water management program for your water system and all devices that use water.
  • Ensure your water heater is properly maintained and the temperature is correctly set.
  • Flush your water system – hot and cold water.
  • Clean all decorative water features, such as fountains.
  • Ensure hot tubs/spas are safe for use.
  • Ensure cooling towers are clean and well-maintained.
  • Ensure safety equipment including fire sprinkler systems, eye wash stations, and safety showers are clean and well-maintained.
  • Maintain your water system and water quality.

For more detailed CDC guidance on your maintaining your building’s water system, please go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html.

For more information about The Woodlands Water Agency, please go to: woodlandswater.org.

CONTACT: James M. Stinson, P.E., General Manager, The Woodlands Water Agency, 281-367-1271.