Aside from financial losses, building closures for longer periods – like during the coronavirus pandemic, during renovations, or during seasonal downtimes – can cause a lot of invisible problems. If you are a business owner or property manager, there are many water safety-related reasons to call upon an environmental consulting professional before reopening.
Best Practices For Protecting The Public
The City of San Jose follows EPA guidelines in recommending that all local building owners and managers take proactive measures to protect public health following building closures. These measures include minimizing stagnation during closures and addressing the water quality inside the building plumbing system before reopening.
The first step in achieving a safe water supply is through thorough commercial inspection and testing.
Idle Plumbing Is The Contaminants’ Playground
Plumbing systems are designed to handle regularly circulating water. Here are some of the potential problems that can occur during a prolonged building closure.
- Stagnation. Water left to stand in pipes and tanks can stagnate and become unsafe to drink or to use for other purposes such as cleaning. Merely turning the plumbing back on after an extended period of non-use can pose health risks if not managed properly.
- Loss Of Residual Disinfectants. City water is chemically treated with chlorine or other disinfectants to remove pathogens before it reaches the consumer. If left to stand, the disinfectant may dissipate, increasing the risk of bacterial growth.
- Metal Leaching. Water chemistry changes can increase tank and pipe corrosion, leading to lead and other metals leaching into your supply.
- Harmful Bacteria & Microorganism Growth. Building closures generally mean turning water heaters down or off, and as the temperature decreases and disinfectant residuals drop, dangerous Legionella and other bacteria can proliferate.
- Depressurization. System depressurization can lead to back-siphoning or back pressure of non-potable water from outside sources, including sewage. When the pressure returns to normal, it can disrupt pipe and plumbing, increasing the risk of contamination by chemicals, pathogens, and excess disinfectant residuals.
Should Your Building’s Water Be Tested?
Many small businesses and schools shut their doors for the holidays or winter season and could benefit from water testing before reopening. Additionally, in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many businesses and public buildings to shut down for prolonged periods during government-mandated lockdowns and stay at home orders.
- Schools & College Campuses
- Student Housing Buildings
- Recreation Centers & Gyms
- Seasonally-Run Businesses
- Public Buildings & Courthouses
- Medical Facilities
Bay Area Water Testing Services
Benchmark Environmental Engineering is an environmental consulting firm providing residential and commercial water quality testing in San Jose, CA, and the Bay Area. Don’t risk the health of your employees or the public by opening back up without ensuring your water system is safe. Call us today to schedule an inspection and reopen with a little more peace of mind.