Sink, water, faucet

SPOKANE, Wash. - More people will be heading back to work now that Spokane has entered Phase 2 and the city is reminding them about an important part of reopening. 

Businesses located in buildings that have been mostly vacant for several weeks during the pandemic should have water pipes flushed to move out old, stagnant water. 

The City of Spokane Water Department is asking businesses to flush their internal plumbing systems so they can have a fresh water supply prior to reopening. Unused water that's been sitting in pipes for extended periods may appear cloudy or have an unpleasant taste or odor. Health risks like bacteria or other hazards could occur depending on a building's plumbing

"We are all focused on caring for our health during this time," City Water Director Dan Kegley said in a press release. "This is one more step to make sure our businesses are ready to welcome their employees and the public back into their buildings. 

The city offered these steps on how to flush your pipes:

  • Run every tap - cold water first, then hot.
    • Find the cold water faucet closes to where water enters the building
    • Disconnect aerators and run cold water until it feels cool and fresh. Fresh water from the main will feel cooler than water that has been sitting in a building's plumbing. It may take longer for fresh water to reach faucets in larger buildings.
    • Next, run the hot water at every tap until it gets fully hot. This will get fresh water into your building's hot water lines. For this to be effective, flush hot water only after all cold taps have been flushed.
  • Flush every toilet, spa and water feature to remove old water from the building. 
  • Maintain any other appliance or system with a water connection: ice machines, refrigerator filters, drinking fountains, dishwashers, kitchen sprayers, coffee makers, etc.
  • For larger, more complex building facilities, follow the CDC's guidance for preparing plumbing before the workplace is reoccupied. 

If you've flushed the water in your building and still have concerns about water quality, call the City Water Department at (509)625-7800.