COVID-19 Shutdown and Legionella Risks: Guidance for Bringing Water Systems Back Online

As buildings across the U.S. reopen, occupants could be put in harm’s way if water systems are not properly brought back online. For weeks, even months, buildings have sat empty or with very low occupancy due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stagnant water has been sitting in building pipes, creating ideal conditions for Legionella bacteria growth. Legionella bacteria cause Legionnaires’ disease, a serious pneumonia that often results in hospitalization, particularly in the same vulnerable populations as COVID-19.

Medical and commercial office buildings, schools, hotels, and recreational facilities could all be at risk. Risks related to Legionella could be further exacerbated by the fact that many buildings are reopening during the summer season, when warmer temperatures are conducive to Legionella growth. Fortunately, there are proactive measures that can be taken to mitigate the risks and help ensure a safe environment for occupants.

Learn key measures that should be implemented prior to re-occupancy and longer-term water management strategies to address the risks related to Legionella, including:

  • How to implement a systematic flushing plan for building water systems for buildings with low usage of water during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Considerations for water sampling prior to re-occupancy, and what these results mean.
  • Maintenance of high-risk items including cooling towers, hot tubs, spas, and decorative fountains and how to verify the effectiveness of cleaning.
  • High-risk settings and how to mitigate those risks prior to re-occupancy.
  • How to establish an effective maintenance program, with a water management plan and team.
  • Ensuring compliance with CDC and state requirements for re-entry and water management plans.