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CDC Updates Guidance for Building Water Systems

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), updated its guidance for building water systems. In the never-ending quest to be prepared, building owners and managers need to be thinking ahead about the appropriate steps to take when re-opening a building that has seen reduced and/or zero occupancy in April (and possibly into May) with associated low/zero water use that results in stagnant water in the building water system. The guidance list eight steps that need to be taken before a business or building reopens after a prolonged shutdown.

Stagnant, or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria. When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease to the Legionella growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C). Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine or chlormaine. Building owners and managers need to ensure that the building water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water. Water systems need to be prepared to answer questions from building owners and managers, as they are the “go-to” source for answers to their customers’ questions on water quality.