American Water recommends building operators and schools to flush
pipes to maintain water quality
Company remains committed to delivering
safe, reliable service
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[September 23, 2020]
Illinois American Water remains committed to
keeping you informed as we continue our work to deliver clean, safe
and reliable water and/or wastewater services to you during the
COVID-19 public health emergency.
Extended periods of inactivity in buildings can
cause lead leaching or legionella growth in water pipes and taking
proper steps can help minimize potential exposure to both these
contaminants. As buildings reopen, businesses, school districts and
property management teams will begin the process of restarting
building systems that have been dormant for a significant amount of
time. Proper reopening procedures help in verifying that water
systems and equipment are in safe working order.
The general purpose of flushing is to bring fresh water into all
sections of a building. This will require running water through all
fixtures long enough to replace stagnant water. The time needed to
complete this is location-specific and may range from a few minutes
for smaller buildings to more than 30 minutes for larger or more
complex plumbing systems.
Illinois American Water encourages large building owners and
operators to adopt a proactive approach that includes proper
flushing procedures, adjustment of hot water temperature, and proper
maintenance of building plumbing and heating/cooling systems. Proper
flushing of plumbing before reoccupying these buildings is essential
to maintain water quality in the internal plumbing system and should
be performed biweekly while the building is closed, if possible, and
again the days immediately prior to opening.
Consistent with EPA and industry guidance, Illinois
American Water recommends bringing fresh water into the building,
and flushing individual fixtures, including:
• Toilets: Flush at least twice.
• Faucets: Run both hot and cold water at full flow for at least 2
minutes. Longer times may be needed depending on location.
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• Showers: Run both hot and cold water at full flow
for at least 2 minutes. Longer times may be needed depending on
• Other Appliances/Apparatus: We recommend flushing other appliances
and apparatus thoroughly, at full flow, bringing fresh water into
the system. If you have an appliance such as a refrigerator or ice
maker that has a filter, follow manufacturer’s instructions to
replace water filters after completion of flushing.
For additional information on flushing you can go to American
Water’s f act sheet; the Environmental Protection Agency’s F lushing
Best Practices; the Center for Disease Control web page; or the
American Water Works Association.
Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK),
is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing
high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to
approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a
customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research
laboratory in Belleville. With a history dating back to 1886,
American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S.
publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company
employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide
regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other
related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water
provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our
customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more
information, visit amwater.com