Tips for Maintaining Water Quality in Low or Unoccupied Buildings

With many of our community’s buildings having little or no occupancy due to COVID-19, it’s important to remember that drinking water can deteriorate and lose its freshness when it sits in the building’s plumbing system due to low or no use. When water is not used regularly, the chlorine residual levels can decrease, which may result in a lower level of drinking water quality in these buildings.

To keep your facility’s water fresh and ensure you are receiving the highest level of water quality, you will need to ‘flush’ the water lines periodically.

Fort Collins Utilities recommends the following steps (every building will be different depending on plumbing configuration, building size and number of faucets):

  • Begin at one of the furthest sinks from the water main (usually located on the highest floor, furthest from the street).
  • Turn on the COLD water faucet and let it run until the water flowing out is consistently cold (see below paragraph for time estimations). Do not attempt to flush by running the hot water.
  • After this, you can run the COLD water from each fixture throughout the building until that water also runs cold.

While flushing times will vary, Utilities estimates approximately 10 minutes for daily flushing in buildings with low occupancy and 20-25 minutes weekly for unoccupied buildings. The key is to flush the lines until the water runs cold.

Another option is to flush toilets, remembering to begin with those located furthest from the water main (same general location as the faucets referenced above).

Fort Collins Utilities’ Water Quality Laboratory staff continues to collect weekly samples at sites throughout the distribution system to ensure our water meets all standards for safe, high-quality drinking water. Following the steps above will help ensure you are getting the highest possible water quality during this time when buildings have low or no occupancy.

If you have questions about building flushing practices or your water quality in general, please email UtilitiesCustomerAccounts@fcgov.com or call 970-416-4268.

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