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Water quality in large buildings

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Maintaining water quality is a shared responsibility. We deliver safe and reliable drinking water to your property. As a building owner or property manager, you're responsible for maintaining water quality once the water enters your building.
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Steps to take during the pandemic and before reopening

Your tap water is safe to drink during the COVID-19 crisis. However, if you're using less water in your large building during the pandemic or planning to reopen your building soon, you may need to take extra steps to make sure the water in your building stays safe.

Steps to take during periods of lower water use

  • Run all water at least weekly. Follow guidance from the Environmental Science Policy & Research Institute on how to flush the water in your building [pdf]. The goal is to refresh all the water in the building pipes with fresh water from the water mains underneath the street.
  • Check your hot water system. Set your water heater to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When flushing hot water taps, run the water until it reaches its highest temperature.
  • Take steps before reopening. Follow the steps below to protect the health of people in your building.

Steps to take before reopening your building

  • Replace all the water in the building with fresh water by flushing the plumbing.
  • Review reopening guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (see Industry-standard resources section below).
  • Using CDC and EPA guidance documents, determine the water quality risks specific to your building and develop an action plan to address those risks.
  • Drain and clean water storage devices and water heaters.
  • Ensure worker safety by using the appropriate protection.

Industry-standard resources

Water quality health risks in large buildings during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how water is used in some commercial and industrial buildings. This could be your building if you have closed or greatly reduced operations. Letting water sit in pipes for a long time can create water quality problems.

Two potential health risks from allowing water to sit include the following:

  • Creating conditions where harmful bacteria, such as Legionella, can grow. Legionella can make people sick if they inhale the bacteria in water droplets or steam (such as in the shower or from a fine spray).
  • Causing increased plumbing corrosion and higher levels of metals in the water, including lead if it is present in the plumbing.

When water use is lower than usual, you should take the steps outlined above (under "Steps to take during the pandemic and before reopening") to restore or maintain water quality in your large building.

Water quality health risks in large buildings under normal operations

Even when not in a pandemic, owners and managers of certain types of buildings should protect their water quality and address the risk of Legionella growth. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that all public buildings take steps to protect water quality. However, CDC only recommends that the following types of buildings or devices protect their water quality:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Buildings that primarily house people over 65 years of age
  • Buildings with multiple housing units and a central hot water system (such as hotels and high-rise apartment buildings)
  • Buildings with 10 or more stories
  • Cooling towers
  • Hot tubs
  • Decorative fountains
  • Centrally installed misters, atomizers, air washers, or humidifiers

If you're a building owner or manager, you should develop and implement a water management program. Water management programs help you maintain your building water quality to reduce the risk of Legionella growth and spread. Use these two industry-standard resources when developing your water management plan:

Sign up to receive water quality notifications from us about changes in water treatment, source water, and other water quality issues.

[Spanish/Español] Siga los siguientes pasos para proteger su salud y la calidad del agua de su edificio.

El agua que el Departamento de Aguas de Portland suministra a su edificio es segura para beber y no está afectada por la pandemia de COVID-19. Sin embargo, cuando un edificio grande se cierra o se usa menos, el agua puede asentarse en las tuberías y permitir el crecimiento de bacterias. La bacteria nociva llamada Legionella puede crecer en las tuberías y enfermar a las personas si la inhalan.

Si tiene preguntas, llame a la Línea de Calidad del Agua: 503-823-7525. Ofrecemos servicios de traducción e interpretación.

[Russian/Русский] Примите следующие меры для защиты вашего здоровья и качества воды в вашем здании.

Вода, которую Бюро водоснабжения Портленда поставляет в ваше здание, безопасна для питья и на ее качество не повлияла пандемия COVID-19. Но в том случае, когда большие здания закрыты или эксплуатируются меньше, вода может застаиваться в трубах, что приводит к росту числа бактерий. Опасная бактерия под названием Легионелла (Legionella) может размножаться в трубах и заражать людей, если те вдыхают испарения.

Если у вас есть вопросы по качеству воды, пожалуйста, звоните по телефону: 503-823-7525. Мы предлагаем услуги письменного и устного перевода.

[Vietnamese/Tiếng Việt] Thực hiện các bước sau để bảo vệ sức khỏe của bạn và chất lượng nước của tòa nhà

Nước Thủy Cục Portland cung cấp cho tòa nhà của bạn an toàn để uống và không bị ảnh hưởng bởi đại dịch COVID-19. Tuy nhiên, khi các khu nhà lớn không hoạt động hoặc ít sử dụng, nước tồn đọng trong ống tạo môi trường cho vi khuẩn sinh sản. Vi khuẩn có hại có tên Legionella có thể nảy sinh trong đường ống và khiến người ta bị bệnh nếu hít vào.

Nếu bạn có thắc mắc, xin vui lòng gọi cho Đường dây Chất lượng Nước: 503-823-7525. Chúng tôi cung cấp dịch vụ phiên dịch.

[Chinese/华语(中文)] 要保护您的健康和建筑物的水质,请采取这些措施

Portland Water Bureau输送到您建筑物的水源可以安全饮用,并且不会受到新冠肺炎(COVID-19)疫情大流行的影响。 然而,当大型建筑物关闭或减少使用时,水便会停留在建筑物的管道中,令细菌有机会滋生。 对健康有害的退伍军人杆菌(Legionella)有可能会在管道中滋生,如果人们吸入杆菌,便会导致身体不适。

如有疑问,请拨打 503-823-7525 与水质专线(Water Quality Line)联系。 我们提供翻译和口译服务。

[Ukrainian/Українська] Застосуйте наступні заходи для захисту вашого здоров'я і якості води у вашiй будiвлi.

Вода, яку Бюро водопостачання міста Портленд доставляє у вашу будiвлю, є безпечною та питною, на ïï якість не вплинула пандемiя COVID-19. Але в тому випадку, коли великi будiвлi зачинені або експлуатуються менше, вода может застоюватися у трубах, що призводить до зростання числа бактерій. Шкідлива бактерія, що має назву Легiонелла (Legionella), може розмножуватися у трубах та викликати захворювання у людей, коли тi вдихають цi бактерії.

Якщо у вас є питання щодо якості води, будь ласка, телефонуйте за номером: 503-823-7525. Ми пропонуємо послуги письмового та усного перекладу.