How to Safely Reopen Buildings Whose Water Has Been Shut Off for Prolonged Periods
(BCHD20-217) Public Health Advisory –Maintaining and Reopening Building Water Systems Impacted by Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation - Minimizing Legionella and Opportunistic Bacteria Growth
Distributed by the New Jersey Department of Health
104104-6-4-2020-PHAD June 4, 2020
Key Points or Updates:
Many buildings may be temporarily shut down or have reduced operations in normal water use due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Periods of little to no water usage may lead to conditions in building water systems which can promote the growth of Legionella and other opportunistic bacteria within weeks or months. To prevent Legionella growth, building water systems must be actively managed and maintained now to prevent future legionellosis outbreaks once buildings reopen or resume normal operations.
For building owners and managers whose building water systems are impacted by a prolonged shut down or reduced operation and would like to properly maintain their building water systems, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) developed the guidance document, Maintaining and Reopening Building Water Systems Impacted by Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation: Minimizing Legionella and Opportunistic Bacteria Growth. This guidance document is available on the NJDOH website at: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/legion.shtml.
NJDOH requests that local health departments further distribute this guidance to building owners and managers in their jurisdiction. Consider working with local business associations or water utility companies to identify buildings that may be at increased risk. For questions, contact the Legionella team at PreventLD@doh.nj.gov.
Kathleen Ross, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, NJDOH, Kathleen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Greeley, Infectious Disease Team Lead, NJDOH, Rebecca.email@example.com
Lauren Conner, Epidemiologist, NJDOH, Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org