Water Supply Flushing Recommendations for Re-Opened Buildings

Recommendations for Water Supply Flushing for Reopening of Buildings
Under Statewide COVID-19 Transition Plan

Dear Building Occupants, Owners, and Tenants,

In accordance with Ohio’s statewide transition plan announced April 27, 2020, and as buildings
re-open that have had little to no water usage during the Stay at Home Order due to the COVID-19
pandemic, it is important to flush water that has been stagnant in both cold- and hot-water
distribution lines and fixtures. Low water
usage can contribute to bacterial growth, including Legionella which can cause a serious type of
pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. It can also cause other water quality issues with potential
health risks due to the build-up of lead and copper in stagnant water that’s been collecting in
older pipes and fixtures.

As buildings reopen, it is critical to drain, flush, and if necessary, based on a review of
building conditions, disinfect the hot and cold-water systems to remove harmful contaminants.
Devices that store water, such as drinking water fountains, water heaters, storage tanks, and any
droplet or mist-forming devices such as cooling towers, humidifiers, showerheads, and certain
medical and manufacturing devices and process equipment should also be flushed and disinfected in
accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations or industry best practices.

The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency have issued the attached
“Guidance for Premise Plumbing Water Service Restoration.”

Please note that this guidance applies to the water systems of all types of buildings that are
unoccupied or partially occupied during the COVID-19 pandemic, including but not limited to office
buildings, manufacturing facilities, medical offices (e.g., physician and dentist offices,
ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient centers, etc.), government facilities, and religious
institutions. If you are a tenant of a building, we recommend that you share this information with
the building owner, building manager, or management company and ask them to consider taking these

If you have any questions, please contact:

Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Environmental Health & Radiation Protection
(614) 466-1390
[email protected]

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Division of Drinking and Ground Waters Emerging Contaminants
(614) 644-2752


Amy Acton, MD, MPH Laurie Stevenson
Director Director
Ohio Department of Health Ohio Environmental
Protection Agency

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