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  Aug 01, 2020

Greenville Water Ensures Healthy Water for Greenville County Schools through Proper Flushing Program

Greenville Water remains committed to keeping our community safe and informed while also continuing to deliver clean, safe and reliable drinking water to the greater Greenville area.

As a reminder to the community, especially schools which have been most recently impacted by the Coronavirus, Greenville Water encourages a proactive approach to flushing after prolonged facility closure. Flushing stagnant water from pipes in facilities is a necessary preventative measure to improve overall water quality and reduce any possible lead levels or bacterial growth after prolonged periods of nonuse.

Recently, schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania have reported Legionella cases. Legionella is a type of bacteria that can grow in water piping in the premise plumbing of large buildings after long periods of nonuse. Premise plumbing is the portion of the water distribution system from the water meter to the tap in homes and buildings. People are exposed to Legionella when they inhale water droplets containing the bacteria. Legionella exposure is highest from devices such as showers, hot tubs and spray nozzles where a mist is formed.

Greenville Water uses chloramination as an effective, long-lasting disinfection agent to ensure residual disinfection throughout the distribution network. While bacteria are not present in the water distributed from our water treatment plant to our customers, the substances may enter the water after prolonged periods of nonuse in a facility’s pipes – requiring the incorporation of flushing into regular maintenance practice (after vacations, holidays and even extended weekends) to ensure the water is chlorinated and fresh.

To support flushing efforts, Greenville Water flushed all water mains leading up to the hydrants on all Greenville County School properties at the beginning of August. Flushing water service lines and the water connections plumbed to appliances is an easy way to ensure that high water quality is maintained. The proactive flushing practice moves older water sitting in the pipes out of the building and brings in fresh, disinfected water.

Consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry guidance, Greenville Water recommends the flushing of pipes to maintain water quality, including:

— Faucets: Run at full flow for at least 2 minutes

— Toilets: Flush at least twice (this will help to move fresh water through the plumbing)

— Showers: Run at full flow for at least 2 minutes

— Other Appliances/Apparatus: We recommend flushing other appliances and apparatus thoroughly, at full flow, bringing fresh water into the system. If you have an appliance, such as a refrigerator or ice maker that has a filter, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing water filters upon completion of flushing.

For practical information and guidance to help prevent and mitigate Legionella, as well as an overview of relevant regulations and guidelines, review the Legionella Management in Building Water Systems: The Role of Chlorine Products from the American Chemistry Council.

For additional information on flushing, review the EPA’s Flushing Best Practices, EPA Guidance on Restoring Water Quality or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more about Greenville Water’s treatment and distribution process, review the 2019 Water Quality Report.

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