Reminder to businesses: flush plumbing systems prior to re-opening
May 7, 2020 — Water and Sewer

scientist testing water

The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) has continued to deliver its services uninterrupted throughout the coronavirus State of Emergency. This includes sampling and testing our drinking water more than 150,000 times a year.

However, because many businesses have been closed during the State of Emergency, water has not been used at those facilities and has remained sitting in their pipes for multiple weeks.

As Miami-Dade County prepares to reopen in stages, WASD is reminding businesses to flush their internal plumbing systems prior to allowing access to the public.

  1. Disconnect any point-of-entry device filters and clean faucet aerators.
  2. Locate the cold water faucet closest to where the water enters the building. Then, turn on this faucet and all cold water faucets in kitchens and bathrooms. Let the cold water flow for 20 minutes.
  3. Flush all appliances that use water. Run an empty load in the dishwasher and let water flow through drinking water fountains and kitchen sink sprayers. Empty the ice from ice maker bin; run and discard two additional batches of ice.
  4. Flush all toilets, spas and water features like fountains. Follow manufacturer’s instructions on filter replacement.
  5. Increase the temperature on the hot water heater to at least 140 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn on the hot water tap closest to the water heater and in kitchens and bathrooms. Let it flow enough to drain the hot water heater.

We have created an infographic, available for download in EnglishSpanish and Creole to illustrate the flushing process. Please refer to the CDC guidelines for specific directions for your facility type and infrastructure’s requirements.  

“Stagnant or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria,” said WASD Director Kevin Lynskey. “WASD continues to operate and provide high quality drinking water to our 2.3 million customers, but our system doesn’t interact with private plumbing systems once the water has been delivered. We want to ensure the safety of your building water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown.”

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has produced a set of guidelines for businesses to follow so that they prepare their plumbing systems and devices before reopening their businesses,” said Samir Elmir, Environmental Administrator for the Department of Health (DOH) in Miami-Dade County.

“This includes but is not limited to buildings’ plumbing hot and cold-water systems, cooling towers, hot tubs/pool spas, water heaters, and decorative fountains. Following the CDC guidelines can greatly reduce chances for Legionella and other opportunistic waterborne microbes from developing within plumbing systems and devices.”

Businesses owners with questions regarding the CDC recommendations or water quality of their plumbing system can call the DOH at 305-324-2400.

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