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Albany Water Department Reminds Local Businesses to Freshen Water Systems Before Reopening

As businesses prepare for reopening as part of New York State on PAUSE, the Albany Water Department is requesting that all businesses freshen water systems that have been inactive for more than two weeks. This applies to any facilities that have been shut down, including office buildings, hotels, childcare facilities, and residences.


When water is not actively being used within a building’s water system, stagnant water will remain in the pipes, leading to reduced residual chlorine levels that can create opportunities for potential bacteria growth, taste and odor issues and a risk for Legionnaire’s Disease. Stagnant water can also cause other water quality issues, such as an impact on lead and copper levels. To minimize this risk, building/business managers should review the CDC’sGuidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation, that includes 8 Steps to Minimize Legionella Risk Before your Business or Building Reopens, and follow the flushing guidelines outlined below.

Businesses can contact the Albany Water Department at 518-434-5300 or water@albanyny.gov with any questions.

CDC Flushing Guidelines

  • Flush hot and cold water through all points of use (e.g., showers, sink faucets)

  • Flushing may need to occur in segments (e.g., floors, individual rooms) due to facility size and water pressure. The purpose of building flushing is to replace all water inside building piping with fresh water.

  • Flush until the hot water reaches its maximum temperature, and you can feel a noticeable change in the water temperature at cold water faucets. The outside water will have a lower temperature than water in internal plumbing. You may also note a slight hint of chlorine in the fresh water

  • Other water-using devices, such as ice machines, may require additional cleaning steps in addition to flushing, such as discarding old ice. Follow device manufacturers’ instructions.

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