| New guide helps building managers tackle stagnant water issues
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New guide helps building managers tackle stagnant water issues

Responding to Water Stagnation in Buildings with Reduced or No Water UsePrompted by extended building shut-downs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) convened an expert group to develop a guide to help building managers address water system stagnation.

Stagnation within building water systems is a concern in periods of low or no occupancy. When water does not move through the system, water quality issues may arise at an outlet, a group of outlets or throughout an entire building water system, causing potential health risks.

William RhoadsBecause of the many differences in building water system operation and design, one set of instructions is not appropriate for all buildings. Instead, the guide “provides a decision-making framework for building managers to design responses to building water system stagnation,” said William Rhoads (pictured left), a co-author of the guide and a post-doctoral researcher at Virginia Tech.

“This collaborative effort started April 2, 2020, with an AWWA Premise Plumbing Committee conference call to discuss the impact of COVID-19 stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders on water quality in buildings,” said Rhoads, who sits on the committee.

“When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others released guidance related to COVID-19 water system stagnation, there was a need to provide additional information, context and limitations to some of the specific recommendations,” he added.

Peter DeMarco, executive vice president of Advocacy and Research at the IAPMO Group, said the new document provides essential guidance at a crucial time.

“As buildings reopen across the country, it will be critically important for building owners and facility managers to actively address water quality concerns in plumbing systems due to stagnation,” he said. “We appreciated the opportunity to work with Dr. Rhoads and the other authors on the development of this important guidance document.”

Titled “Responding to Stagnation in Buildings with Reduced or No Water Use,” the guide provides a framework for building managers and a resource that water systems can utilize in supporting the business community in their service areas.