Owners of closed businesses or vacation rentals should consider periodically flushing the water pipes in their vacant buildings during the “Stay Home, Save Lives” order.
When water leaves the City’s distribution system and enters private service connections, the water may stagnate in the plumbing, appliances or other devices and adversely impact the water quality.
According to the CDC, stagnant or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella (cause of Legionnaires’ disease) and other biofilm-associated bacteria. Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Depending on the type of interior plumbing, there may also be risk of increased levels of lead and copper.
The City of Bend Utility Department is sharing this information as a precautionary measure and has created a webpage with information and resources from the CDC and American Water Works Association on how to prepare commercial and residential water systems for reopening, including guidance on flushing pipes.
Instructions for flushing pipes will vary depending on each building’s unique structure and water system. Owners should only enter a vacated building to flush pipes if it is safe to do so. Licensed plumbing professionals should be contacted if owners have questions about how to safely flush pipes in their business or residence.