Preparing Your Building for Reopening

DPW Press Release

Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) Acting Director Matthew W. Garbark reminds owners of vacated or closed businesses and/or large buildings to check their water systems in preparation for future "reopening". "While I am in no position to state when conditions will allow society to resume any semblance of what it was before the pandemic. I am, however, aware that when water is allowed to sit in empty buildings for longer than usual periods of time, it can become stagnant and cause health concerns," said Acting Director Garbark.

Note: Using water from our mains is the freshest, cleanest water for flushing building lines, without adding chemicals which could be harmful.

Most solutions for this are relatively simple for smaller structures, but as property managers of larger buildings are aware, there are a number of steps that must be taken to ensure proper flushing of water lines and cleaning of fixtures.

What happens in a building when the water system is not used for longer than usual periods of time?

  • The building’s water system begins at the meter where water enters the building and includes all plumbing, storage and fixtures to each tap.
  • When the water is not used, the disinfectant in the water dissipates. Without the disinfectant, microorganisms grow on pipes, fixtures and in tanks.
  • The protective scale on pipes can destabilize. Without the protective scale, toxic metals can dissolve or shear off as particles and end up in the water.
  • Potentially harmful substances, such as disinfection byproducts (DBPs) can build up.
  • Mechanical equipment such as cooling towers, boilers and pumps should undergo routine maintenance.
  • Backflow preventers should be tested annually
  • The scientists and engineers at the Environmental Science, Policy & Research Institute (ESPRI) and AH Environmental Consultants, Inc. (AH) have developed brief guidance material to help those who are responsible for maintaining large buildings’ water systems. Click here to read that material.

For residential customers, and those businesses that have continued to operate with regular water usage, you can be assured that your water supply is safe and plentiful.   

 

 

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Contact

Jennifer Combs
410-545-6541
Kurt Kocher
410-545-6541
After hours, weekends, or holidays please call 410-396-3100 for the duty officer

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works supports the health, environment, and economy of our City and region by cleaning our neighborhoods and waterways and providing its customers with safe drinking water and sustainable energy practices.