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Posted on: May 28, 2020

Facilities with long-term closures encouraged to flush water pipes prior to reopening

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RIVERSIDE, CA – Western Municipal Water District (Western) is encouraging businesses, schools and other buildings that have been closed to flush water pipes prior to reopening. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many facilities unused for weeks. Once people return to these structures, the water within internal pipes and systems needs to be refreshed.

Under normal use, water pipes maintain a chlorine residual that protects public health and aesthetic water quality. Water that sits for a few weeks may become stagnant.

“It is important to know Western only delivers the highest quality water that meets or exceeds all stringent state and federal water quality standards,” said Western’s general manager, Craig Miller. “Western continues to ensure you receive high water quality at your meter, but you are responsible for your water system in your facility.”

To restore your building with fresh water, Western and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you take the following steps before starting facilities back up:

  1. Identify all water taps, toilets, shower and bathtub fixtures, refrigerator/freezers with an icemaker or water supply, drinking fountains, and any other source of potable water.
  2. Turn on all the water taps with drains simultaneously for 10 to 15 minutes, making sure to check that each drain is working properly.
  3. While the taps are running with fresh water, flush each toilet to refresh the water tank, if there is one, and empty the old water from the toilet bowl.
  4. Dump any old ice in the refrigerator/freezer and continue to remove the new ice for three to five cycles. Run the water from the refrigerator dispenser to refill the water line to the refrigerator.
  5. If the hot water has a sulfur smell or other odor, consider draining your water heater before use. Make sure your water heater is set to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Don’t forget to check that all water taps have been turned off after flushing.

With these simple steps, you can restore fresh water in your building(s).

Western is committed to providing its customers with safe and reliable water. We use advanced treatment processes to eliminate pathogens, which includes COVID-19. This ensures safe drinking water for all our customers.

“While the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, Western is here to serve,” said Miller. “You can count on your water today, and always.”

For more information, visit wmwd.com/Coronavirus or contact Western at outreach@wmwd.com or call Customer Service at 951.571.7104.

If you have any questions about restarting your facility and what you can do to keep your systems safe, contact the CDC directly at 800.232.4636 or by email.

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Western Municipal Water District is one of the largest public agencies in Riverside County, providing water and wastewater (sewer) services to nearly a million people, both retail and wholesale customers who live, work and play within 527-square miles in one of California’s most populous regions. Learn more: wmwd.com.

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