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Guidance For Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

May 13, 2020

Hillsborough, Fla. – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many buildings and other properties have been unoccupied for an extended period. When water is stagnant for an extended time, there can be a build-up of hazardous metals and bacteria such as Legionella, which can cause a serious threat to drinking water. Legionella can grow and multiply, and transmit through aerosolized water droplets.

The water droplets can be transmitted through showerheads, hot tubs, sink faucets, centralized air-cooling systems, and large plumbing systems. Legionella can cause serious diseases and endanger the health of the community, especially vulnerable populations.


Here are some tips to prevent Legionella from developing:

• Develop a comprehensive water management program (WMP) for your water system and all devices that use water.
• Ensure your water heater is properly maintained and the temperature is correctly set.
• Flush your water system.
• Clean all decorative water features, such as fountains.
• Ensure hot tubs/spas are safe for use.
• Ensure cooling towers are clean and well-maintained.
• Ensure safety equipment including fire sprinkler systems, eye wash stations, and safety showers are clean and well-maintained.
• Maintain your water system.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation.



About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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