The Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities is asking area businesses that are preparing to reopen to flush water lines.
According to a BPU news release, there are some precautions businesses should take to retain water quality.
Wyandotte County is under a stay-at-home order through May 10, then it could go into the “red zone,” where some offices and manufacturing plants are looking at reopening, although they still are encouraged to work from home. The county health officer will determine if the county can move forward into the “red zone” on May 11.
The BPU stated that buildings that have been closed for more than a week should have service lines and internal plumbing completely flushed before people return, especially if the building had no or low occupancy.
According to the BPU, when the water isn’t being used regularly, the quality could change if the water remains stagnant after an extended period. Flushing hot and cold water lines helps decrease the risk of bacterial growth and replaces the water in the pipes with fresh, clean water.
The BPU recommended flushing water through the fixtures to “turn over” the unused water and flow fresh water from the water main through the building’s plumbing.
The BPU outlined steps:
- Before reopening, run every tap, cold water first, then hot.
- Flush every toilet.
- Maintain any other appliance or system with a water connection, such as fire sprinklers, refrigerator filters, drinking fountains, coffee makers or ice machines. After flushing, if the building has an ice machine, it should be emptied of remaining ice and any ice made within 24 hours.
The steps to flush building plumbing lines will vary based on the plumbing configuration, property size and number of faucets, according to BPU. The American Water Works Association offered guidance for flushing protocols to safely return to service at https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resource-Topics/Coronavirus#lt-10681543-shutoffs-and-return-to-service-guidance.
If water lines can’t be flushed, remember to post warnings near all drinking water sources advising people not to drink the water, the BPU news release stated. Business owners and operators are encouraged to review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for additional information to ensure the safety of water systems after a prolonged shutdown.
The BPU is constantly monitoring the water quality at the water treatment plant as well as testing regularly throughout the service area, according to a spokesman. This testing is done to ensure the water quality meets state and federal guidelines.
The BPU recommends flushing a building’s plumbing to ensure staff, employees and customers are receiving fresh water straight from the water main and avoid using stale water that has been sitting unused for extended periods of time, the spokesman stated. Persons who have refreshed the water in their building and still have concerns about water quality, may call BPU at 913-573-9622 with any questions.
- Information from BPU