To assist non-domestic customers preparing to re-use buildings after a period of closure or under-utilisation, Irish Water has launched a new section on water.ie with advice and practical tips to help ensure internal water and wastewater systems are made safe for staff, customers and visitors.
A number of issues can arise when buildings are left un-used for a period of time. These include leaks that cause damage to premises and stock; blockages in pipes from fats, oils or greases; dead rodents in water tanks that can cause contamination; and stagnant water in plumbing and cooling systems that can create serious health risks such as Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and hospitalisation is generally required to treat symptoms.
There are number of measures that business owners and facility managers can take to mitigate these risks and these are all outlined on http://www.water.ie.
Yvonne Harris, Head of Customer Operations, says: “Business owners and facility managers can reduce water related risks when reopening buildings and premises by following our guidelines. Irish Water has detailed some simple steps on water.ie that business owners and facility managers should take that will help to protect the health of staff, visitors and customers. The safe re-opening of buildings will require the use of considerable amounts of water, which is one of the reasons we emphasised the need for water conservation in the home recently. The priority must be the health and safety of anyone entering or working in a recently closed building so business owners and facility managers should take all the necessary steps.”
When bringing water systems and devices safely back into use businesses should:
Full information, as well as a booklet are available on https://www.water.ie/for-business/covid-19-reopening-busine/
As every building is different, building managers should get specialist advice if in-house expertise is not available. Some businesses, such as the hospitality sector, healthcare providers and leisure centres, may need more detailed measures associated with water-using equipment.
The HSE has useful resources on its website such as its Checklist for Leisure Centres.