Reopening Plans Should Include Flushing Pipes

Clear Away Stagnant Water in Unused Buildings

Marlene Feist, Public Works, (509) 625-6505

Friday, May 22, 2020 at 10:09 a.m.

Businesses located in buildings that have been mostly vacant for several weeks should add one more task to their to-do lists—flushing the water pipes and moving out old, stagnant water.

The City of Spokane Water Department is asking businesses to flush their internal plumbing systems to ensure a fresh water supply, prior to reopening under the Safe Start Washington plan. Unused water that has been sitting in pipes for extended periods may appear cloudy or have an unpleasant taste or odor. Depending on the building and its plumbing, health risks like bacteria or other hazards also can occur. 

“We are all focused on caring for our health during this time,” says Dan Kegley, the City’s Water Director. “This is one more step to make sure our businesses are ready to welcome their employees and the public back into their buildings.”

Flushing is easy; just follow these steps or watch our video.

  • Run every tap - cold water first, then hot.
    • Locate the cold water faucet closest to where water enters the building.
    • Disconnect aerators and run cold water until it feels cool and fresh. Fresh water from the main will feel cooler than water that has been sitting in your building’s plumbing. It may take longer for fresh water to reach faucets in larger buildings.
    • Next, run the hot water at every tap until it gets fully hot. This will get fresh water into your building’s hot water lines. For this to be effective, flush hot water only after all cold taps have been flushed.
  • Flush every toilet, spas and water features to remove the old water from your building.
  • Maintain any other appliance or system with a water connection: ice machines, refrigerator filters, drinking fountains, dishwashers, kitchen sprayers, coffee makers, etc.
  • For larger, more complex buildings and facilities, follow the CDC’s guidance for preparing your plumbing before your workplace is re-occupied.

If you’ve flushed the water in your building and still have concerns about water quality, call the City’s Water Department at (509) 625-7800 with any questions.