As our NYC-CTIS team are water treatment experts, we decided to share 7 STEPS that we typically implement when we are dealing with domestic water concerns in NYC nowadays. As we are all aware, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a myriad of obstacles in NYC and the temporary shutdowns or reduced operation of buildings and reductions in normal water has created hazards
Hazards include Legionella (the cause of Legionnaires’ disease), mold, and lead and copper contamination from corroded plumbing. For this specific blog, we will stick to a few steps on how to minimize Legionella risk:
7 steps to minimize Legionella risk before your business or building reopens:
1. Develop a comprehensive sampling and management plan (SMP) for your domestic water systems (s). Our team uses the the newly updated NY State template/protocol to develop domestic water – SMPs.
2. Ensure your water heater is properly maintained and the temperature is correctly set.
a. Drain and refill the water heater after a prolonged period of disuse.
b. All maintenance activities for your water heater should be carried out in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions.
c. Make sure that your water heater is set to at least 140°F. (Higher temperatures can further reduce the risk of Legionella growth, but ensure that you take measures to prevent scalding).
3. Flush ALL water systems and possibly disinfect prior to use
a. Flush domestic hot and cold water through all points of use (e.g., showers, sink faucets).
b. Flushing may need to occur in segments (e.g., floors, individual rooms) due to facility size and water pressure. The purpose of building flushing is to replace all water inside building piping with fresh water. For domestic hot water systems, flush until the hot water reaches its maximum temperature. Where possible, hot water at the tap should reach at or above 120°F. Anti-scalding controls and devices may limit the maximum temperature at the point of use. (Other water-using devices, such as ice machines, may require additional cleaning steps in addition to flushing, such as discarding old ice. Follow water-using device manufacturers’ instructions).
c. Care should be taken to minimize splashing and aerosol generation during flushing.
d. If water quality is still being questioned or there are clear and evident aesthetic issues associated to the facility’s water, the system may need to be disinfected to return the system back to normal operation.
4. Ensure all decorative water features (fountains), hot tubs, and spas are safe for use:
a. Check for existing guidelines from your local or state regulatory agency before use
b. Perform a hot tub/spa disinfection procedure before use
c. Ensure that fountains/hot tubs/spas are free of visible slime or biofilm before filling with water
(We recommend facilities to test the fountains/hot tub/spa for Legionella before returning to service if previous device maintenance logs, bacterial testing results, or associated cases of Legionnaires’ disease indicate an elevated level of risk to occupants. All Legionella testing decisions should be made in consultation with the facility’s legionella management team).
5. Ensure cooling towers are disinfected, cleaned, and then immediately started on a chemical treatment program.
a. Ensure that cooling towers are maintained (including start-up and shut-down procedures) per manufacturer’s guidelines and industry best practice. (Guidance on start-up and shut-down procedures should be found within your cooling tower maintenance program and plan).
6. Ensure safety equipment including fire sprinkler systems, eye wash stations, and safety showers are clean and well-maintained. (Regularly flush, clean, and disinfect these systems according to manufacturers’ specifications).
7. Lastly, follow your water management plans, document activities, and promptly intervene when unplanned program deviations arise.
Give us a buzz, if you need our experts to help your team with any of the above noted points:
CALL (718) 704-4299 or email us at [email protected]
Get In Touch
- Cooling Tower Violations and The True Cost of Legionella Concerns
- Cooling Tower Regulations and Compliance in NYC: Who is Responsible?
- Cooling Tower Maintenance and Compliance Requires Special Attention in Healthcare Facilities
- NYC Cooling Tower Regulations: Our Internal Audits
- NYC-CTIS: COVID-19 Wastewater Sampling