As re-openings of schools and businesses occur in South Carolina, the PSD would like to provide the following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because safely restarting water use in an unused or underused building requires several preventative steps.
COVID-19 has not been detected in any public drinking water because current water treatment methods remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
Schools and businesses, including churches, still need to make sure their building’s water system is safe to use. Stagnant or standing water in unused or underused buildings can increase the risk for growth and spread of other biofilm-associated bacteria. Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectants, such as chlorine. If you have buildings that have been sitting idle for an extended period with little or no water use, water in the building lines and piping can become stagnant and needs to be flushed from the lines.
For most schools and businesses, some common steps can be taken to return their buildings to service. When a school or business is being returned to service, please ensure that the private plumbing system is working properly, leaks are minimized, wastewater piping is intact, and most importantly the building’s plumbing is flushed. A thorough flushing process is necessary to ensure that all the water inside the building piping is filled with fresh water.
The CDC has a comprehensive, dedicated page that outlines the eight steps to take before a building should reopen. The complete list can be found here. In essence, flush hot and cold water through all points of use (e.g., showers, sink faucets). Flushing may need to occur in segments (e.g., floors, individual rooms) due to facility size and water pressure. Again, the purpose of building flushing is to replace all water inside building piping with fresh water.
If the staff of your school or business is not knowledgeable about how the plumbing in your buildings works or about flushing methods, please consider contacting a plumber for help. Water systems beyond the water meter are the responsibility of the owner, including all piping and equipment inside structures that use water.
The PSD cares deeply about our customers and community’s safety, if you have any questions or concerns related to your water service as you reopen, please give us a call (843) 681-5525 or email us at [email protected].