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Is your building empty due to COVID-19? Remember to check the pipes


The City of London is encouraging owners and operators of buildings that have been dormant due to the COVID-19 pandemic to proactively check their plumbing systems. Months of inactivity can cause a number of potential water and plumbing issues in a building including:

  • Water discolouration
  • Taste and odors
  • Growth of pathogens
  • Corrosion of metals into the water

“Proactive water maintenance and planning during this time can help a building owner ensure the reliability of their water systems,” says Scott Mathers, Director of Water and Wastewater at the City of London. “As we continue to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, owners of large facilities should consider a recommissioning process where there has been inactive water.”

The City of London continues to regularly monitor and test the water quality within its water distribution system to confirm that the water supplied to residents and businesses comply with the Province of Ontario’s water standards.

Reopening Considerations

Some buildings in London are beginning to reopen for essential workplaces or to offer curbside pick-up. Building owners and operators are encouraged to review their plans for reopening, check their plumbing, and consider any necessary measures that might be needed. This may include flushing and water quality testing if there have been months of inactivity. Many large facilities already have a Water Management Plan that provides information on the building’s plumbing system that may assist in reopening.

Corrective actions can be taken periodically during a building’s shutdown or immediately before the building is reopened. If a building does not have a plan to mitigate potential issues, owners and operators should consider consulting with water, engineering, and health experts.

For more information and resources, the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) has released new guidance documents related to COVID-19 and the re-opening of buildings.