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Water companies urge flushing before reopening

Great Basin Water Co. is passing along some information about something that easily can be overlooked as the state gradually reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many of our customers may have temporarily closed businesses, churches, school buildings, rental properties or vacation homes,” wrote Michael Phillips, vice president of external affairs for the companies in a public service announcement. “Water that is held unused in pipes while the buildings are closed can become stagnant and produce undesirable tastes or odors when the building is reopened and water use is returned to normal.”

To avoid these problems, Phillips recommended precautionary actions to minimize water quality complaints when buildings or homes reopen. The building plumbing, including water heaters, should be thoroughly flushed before reopening for normal use.

Thorough flushing includes operating all sink, tub, shower and toilet fixtures. Safety equipment, such as eye washes, safety showers and fire sprinkler systems might also require assessment and necessary maintenance. Water features inside and outside buildings, hot tubs/spas and cooling towers also can require attention.Phillips told the companies’ customers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has very detailed information on reactivating plumbing systems after dormant conditions on its website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html

Meanwhile, Great Basin issued an update regarding the reopening of the company’s offices, which will be a phased reopening aided by the company’s Incident Command Team. Each location will implement its reopening plan with the help of local office staff to ensure the plan meets the needs of each unique office location.

The company stated it will be conservative in making decisions regarding opening office locations.

As guidance from public health organizations and governments has evolved during the pandemic, additional procedures have been added to Great Basin’s critical visitor protocol.

Visitors who are in a company office for less than two hours will not be permitted to use a restroom or break facilities, and all visitors must self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and contact the appropriate Great Basin representative before going to the location. No visitors who have been in contact with someone who has been confirmed or is suspected to have a positive case of COVID-19 will be permitted in any Great Basin facility.

Great Basin has formalized a self-screening policy for employees who are not working remotely exclusively. This policy provides guidance for employees on how to screen themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to starting the workday. If an employee goes through the screening process and is found to have potential COVID-19 symptoms, the employee is to contact Human Resources and remain at home.

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