As Monroe County begins the process of reopening, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority wants to remind customers of the importance of flushing water systems prior to opening. Buildings that have been closed or operating at a reduced capacity may have stagnant water in the system that no longer contains a disinfectant residual. This stagnant water can become unsafe to drink or otherwise use for personal or commercial purposes. It can also increase the risk for growth of biofilm bacteria, such as Legionella, in the plumbing system. All residences should be flushed thoroughly prior to returning to service, but particular care should be taken to prepare larger buildings with more complex plumbing systems. This includes, but is not limited to, hotels, businesses, restaurants, government offices, gyms, hair salons, spas and facilities with hot tubs.
To ensure the safety of building water systems the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed guidance for businesses preparing to reopen their facilities. The link to this guidance is provided here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-watersystem.html. It is important to flush all fixtures, both the hot and cold water systems, water heaters, hot tubs, and decorative fountains as provided in the CDC guidance. For any questions regarding the CDC guidance please contact Fitima Garcia, Environmental Specialist with the Florida Department of Health at (305) 676-3943 or email Fitima.Garcia@flhealth.gov.