Water safety advice for dormant buildings

As many businesses prepare to reopen, WA’s plumbing regulator is urging owners and managers of recently unoccupied buildings to ensure that hot and cold water services are thoroughly flushed before use to clear potentially hazardous stagnation.

Building and Energy is supporting an advisory note issued by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), which warns that water quality could change if it has been dormant in pipes during the COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions.

“Without the usual flow of fresh water from regularly used taps and appliances, there can be a build-up of microorganisms such as Legionella and heavy metals from possible pipe corrosion,” Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said.

“You may notice signs of stagnation such as discolouration or a bad smell or taste from the water. Even if the water seems clear, flushing is recommended if the system hasn’t been regularly used for an extended period.”

The ABCB advisory note provides an example procedure for flushing water through all points of use – such as taps, showers and toilets – before reopening a premises, with the aim of replacing all water inside the building’s piping with fresh water.

Filters should also be cleaned or replaced, while appliances connected to the water system, such as dishwashers, can be flushed individually.

“If you have any concerns about the flushing process, or the quality of your water supply or plumbing fittings, contact a licensed plumbing contractor,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.


Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au

Building and Energy
Media release
21 May 2020

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