Useful Advice for Village Halls & Community Buildings when re-opening next month

Information courtesy of Wessex Water

The lockdown restrictions in place over the last couple of months has meant several business premises have been forced to close which means water within the building plumbing systems will have been left stagnant. This can cause the water quality to deteriorate within the plumbing system in a number of ways:

Warming of water

Growth of micro-organisms (e.g. bacteria, legionella)

Increased leaching of metals found in plumbing (could cause discolouration)

Taste and odour from prolonged contact with some plumbing materials

We would like to bring to your attention the steps that should be taken to remove any stagnant water and renew your water supply before your workforce return to work and use the water.

Identify all items that use water within the building (taps, showers, appliances, toilets, urinals, drinks machines, bathrooms, etc) and any water storage (tanks and cisterns). Anything storing water should be emptied and refilled first.

Then gently flush all cold-water outlets individually starting with the tap nearest to where the water enters the building and move systematically to the most distant outlet including flushing toilets. Flush until the water is cool to the touch or the same temperature as the water closest to where it enters the building.

Minimise the potential of creating aerosols by flushing gently, removing aerators, shower heads and any other tap inserts or attachments. Close toilet seat lids before flushing.

If there are any outlets that require servicing or cleaning by an external contractor (e.g. coffee machines, soft drinks machines) switch off the supply to them and do not use until a contractor can visit.

Ensure appliances are flushed and internal filters and softeners are checked to ensure they are flushed and working correctly as outlined in manufacturer’s instructions.

Once the cold water has flushed through, repeat the process with the hot water outlets.

If you have a water safety plan for the premises, this should include how to return the building water system to normal following prolonged low/no use.

Complex systems involving chemical dosing systems (eg swimming pools and spa pools) please enlist the services of a professional to service the system and return to normal operation.

For more information please see the link below:

Water UK – Recovering drinking water supplies in buildings and networks after prolonged inactivity guidance document

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease

https://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/index.htm

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