Water Quality

Safe Building Water Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The extensive COVID-19 "stay-at-home" orders across the country have resulted in many commercial buildings with reduced or no water use. Stagnant water in these buildings can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria, lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant (such as chlorine or chloramine), and create unsafe levels of lead and copper.

Because of these conditions, there are special considerations for building water systems that continue to operate in low water flow environments, as well as actions that will need to be considered as businesses return to work after the building water supply has sat dormant for a number of weeks, to ensure safe water. Learn more by visiting the following links: View the CDC's guidance for building water systems after a prolonged shutdown here.

View COVID-19 resources for building water systems from the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators here.

Keep Wastewater Flowing Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, has teamed with the Alliance of Rouge Communities, the Freshwater Forum at the Cranbrook Institute of Science and the Great Lakes Water Authority to provide a One Water message. Misuse of wastewater systems associated with COVID-19 has caused issues in Southeast Michigan and across the country.

"Flushable wipes," household disinfecting wipes, latex gloves, and other products all create blockages in household pipes and municipal sewer systems and should never be flushed down the toilet. Only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed.

These simple steps are explained in SEMCOG's video, viewable here.

The One Water partnership offers these reminders to prevent backups and promote stewardship of our water resources systems:

  • Fats, oils, and greases used when cooking can make food tasty, but they gum up our wastewater systems.
  • Pour fats, oils, and greases (FOG) into covered containers and cans, and dispose of them in the trash when full. Wipe down pots and pans with a paper towel to remove any remaining FOG. Scrape food and scraps into the trash when possible.
  • Avoid flushing medications down the toilet or drain when another safe option is available.
  • Dispose of feminine products, tissues, paper towels, "flushable" wipes, and other trash in the garbage.
  • Only flush the Three Ps down the toilet: pee, poop, and paper.