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City Urges Businesses to Flush Plumbing Systems before Reopening

Post Date:05/12/2020 1:36 PM

 Business owners and managers should take extra care when reopening their business after a prolonged closure and flush plumbing systems to ensure high water quality for their workers and patrons.

The Virginia Department of Health recommends all schools, daycares, hotels and motels, professional offices, religious institutions, venues, retail stores, restaurants, fitness centers, medical facilities and other businesses that have been closed during the coronavirus pandemic should flush their plumbing systems with fresh water.

When water stagnates from not being used, the disinfectant in the water slowly dissipates can allow micro-organisms to grow in pipes, fixtures and tanks. Long-term water stagnation can break down the protective scale found on the inside of pipes and allow metal from the piping to dissolve into the water.

When plumbing systems are flushed, stagnant water flows out and fresh water flows into the pipes, protecting the pipes, fixtures and tanks, and the end user.

To flush a plumbing system, first remove all aerators and screens from all water fixtures such as faucets. It’s important to remember to flush cold water first then hot water.

Turn all cold water outlet valves completely on — every fixture should be turned on throughout the business. Start turning valves on from the first floor and then move to higher floors if applicable. All outlets should flow at about the same rate during flushing and run for about 30 minutes. Turn off outlets in the same order you opened them. Cycle toilets and urinals at least twice to purge stagnant water.

Turn on hot water outlets following the same pattern as with the cold water outlets. Hot water outlets should run for about 45 minutes to ensure all the water in the hot water heater has been properly flushed out. Turn off outlets in the same order you opened them.

Clean or replace all aerators and faucet screens, then reinstall them. It’s also recommended for organizations with drinking fountains to replace the filters in the fountains.

For more information on flushing your water system, contact the City of Williamsburg Public Works Department at 757-220-6140 or email

Has your business felt an impact from the coronavirus pandemic? If so, the Williamsburg Economic Development Department might be able to help you. For information on COVID-19 related business resources and grants, go to, email or call 757-220-6104.

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