A Made in Niagara Guide to Flushing your Facility
Check your water system
Flushing the waterlines when reopening your business is important and helps to avoid mechanical and health related issues
- Microbial or pathogen growth
- Disinfection by-product build up in stagnant water
- Pump failure
- Pipe failure
- Discoloured water (cold and hot)
To help get your facility back online or at full capacity, the following is intended to assist you through that process. This guideline is not a specific procedure, but rather a guide to assist your other procedures and maintenance activities.
Develop the plan
To mitigate issues in your facility, take some time to develop a plan focused around fixture flushing, maintenance checks and equipment that's essential to the operation of your facility.
When developing your facility's plan, keep in mind each facility is unique -- a one size fits all approach may not be appropriate.
At a minimum, your plan should include some of the following items.
- Identify your critical valves, pumps, tanks and other systems that are essential to the operation of your facility. Have access to your facility's mechanical plans or sketch your own.
- Review your facility's water service size and measure the size of the waterlines in your facility. Larger services and waterlines will need more flushing time.
- Identify and document the location and operating temperature of boilers and hot water tanks. Ensure hot water is being heated to minimum of 60 C or 140 F.
- Identify the best places to begin flushing your facility, working from the lowest level to the highest in multi-story facilities, and the location closest to where your water service enters the building for single story. Include food fixtures such as coffee makers, ice machines and water dispensers.
- For hot water, flush out the fixture closest to your hot water tank or boiler. Your facility may have multiple hot water sources. If discolouration persists, refer to the manufacturer's instructions for additional cleaning steps.
- Contact your existing contractors, plumbers or other professionals for assistance with items that you're not familiar with such as storage tanks, cooling towers or if your facility services vulnerable populations.
- Identify the locations of your drains, traps, backwater valves, pumps and other sewage related plumbing. These items may need maintenance as well if they've not been used as much as they were previously.
- Document and maintain a log of your flushing activities. This may assist you if issues arise and will help plan future maintenance programs.
Flushing the lines and plumbing
Once you've developed your plan, start to flush the lines and plumbing in your facility. While you flush throughout your facility, keep the following things in mind.
- Start slow. Plumbing and fixtures that have not been used as frequently as before may experience issues, such as leaks or pipe failure. The drawings or sketches from your plan can help mitigate any issues that have arisen.
- Expect to see discoloured water if your facility has been closed or had limited use. Document the location and duration of fixtures that produced discoloured water. This will help to plan for future maintenance.
- Long piping runs or dead ends may need longer and more frequent flushing than areas with a higher rate of usage
- Your local municipality makes sure there's an appropriate level of disinfection throughout the drinking water distribution system. Your facility flushing program will build off the programs already taking place within your municipality.
- If you experience a sewer smell, it may be the result of emptied or dried plumbing traps. Flushing may resolve this issue.
Remember, flushing a fixture doesn't replace cleaning a fixture. including touch points and discharge locations.
- Guidelines for Canadian drinking water quality summary table
- Guidance for Providing Safe Drinking Water in Areas of Federal Jurisdiction - Version 2
- Building Water Quality and Coronavirus: Flushing Guidance for Periods of Low or No Use
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources and Tools
- MD 15161-2013. Control of Legionella in Mechanical Systems, Chapter 6 - Domestic Water
- Considerations for Large Building Water Quality after Extended Stagnation
- Building Water System COVID-19 Guidance Document Evaluation Tool
- Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems
- Toolkit: Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings
- Webinar: Exiting One Crisis and Mitigating Another
- Frequently Asked Questions: Building Water Safety in Response to COVID-19