Managing Building Water Disruptions in a Post-COVID World: Water Quality and Safety Risk Assessment Tool for Academic Institutions and School Settings
1.1. Disruptive Water Events
1.2. Green Building Design and Water System Challenges
1.3. Municipal Water Supply Changes
1.4. Water Management Policies for BWDS
1.5. Risk Decision Matrix and Water Management
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Developing WQSRA Project Types
2.1.1. Adjusting for Water Age/Dormancy
2.1.2. Defining Disruptive Event and Scope of Work for Water System Components
2.2. Defining Building Area Risk Groups
2.3. Developing WQSRA Risk Mitigation Strategies
3.1. WQSRA Project Categories
3.1.1. Water Disruption Scope of Work
3.1.2. Stratified Water Age Categories
3.2. WQSRA Building Occupant Risk Groups
3.3. Risk Mitigation Levels
3.4. WQSRA Verification and Validation Testing
4.1. Variable Building Occupancy (Seasonal, Low-Density, or Emergency Conditions)
4.2. Increasing Water Management Policy Statutes
4.3. Green Building Design (GBD) Impact
4.3.1. GBD and Educational Mission
4.3.2. GBD and Water Quality
4.3.3. GBD and Healthy Building Rating and Certification Programs
4.4. Education Campuses and Community Water Supply Systems
4.5. Liability, Financial Risk, and Reputational Harm
- Reduce the likelihood of a disease case, injury, or death from a water-disruptive event due to water quality or safety issue emerging from the BWDS;
- Reduce the likelihood of a water quality or safety issue from a water-disruptive event in a BWDS undergoing any project maintenance, repairs, or involving construction activities;
- Reduce the likelihood of unintended health consequences in BWDSs from design professionals utilizing building or certification systems focusing primarily on green building design initiatives without consideration of water quality and safety;
- Improve regulatory alignment for building owners with emerging new state policies requiring risk mitigation for water chemistry or waterborne pathogen growth and spread in BWDSs;
- Extend public health training to include comprehensive WMP methods for catastrophic events, water disruption, and construction activities.
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|WQRSA Mitigation Strategy||Description||Notes|
(Free or Total)
|Chlorine (measured as free residual oxidant, FRO) or monochloramine (measured as total residual oxidant, TRO) are the most common disinfectants [13,19].||Reduced risk of growth and spread of pathogens in BWDSs with FRO between 0.20 and 4.0 ppm or TRO between 0.50 and 4.0 ppm .|
|Monitoring and Maintaining|
|Maintain hot water ranges and cold water thresholds to discourage growth of Legionella .||Cold water maintained at ≤77 °F (25 °C) and hot ≥113 °F while also avoiding scald risks .|
|Flushing Protocols||Flushing BWDSs helps maintain temperature ranges, reduce water age, and introduce ”newer” water with adequate residual disinfectant into the system. Protocols are highly dependent on the volume of water within the BWDS; calculations may be needed to move and replace 100% of the total water volume in response to a disruption event.||Protocols should specify the minutes of flushing, number of days of the week for flushing, and the number of fixtures to be flushed.|
|Utilizing Filtration||Used to remove suspended particles from the potable water system before dispensing water at the terminal fixture . Filters, screens, and other devices are commonly applied at the point-of-entry, inline, and/or at point-of-use. Any installation and removal of filtration devices requires careful consideration by the WMP team.||Filters with a pore size of 0.2 µm or less that comply with industry standardized test methods can provide a barrier to transmission of Legionella .|
|Installing Physical Barriers||A physical construction or partition barrier may be necessary to contain and prevent aerosolized water droplets from dispersing into the air, preventing exposure to waterborne pathogens via inhalation .||Isolate building occupants and/or ventilation intakes from any device or equipment used to spray water, test or repair fixtures, operationalize misters, or equipment that contains a water reservoir.|
Hot Water Storage
|BWDS components including hot water recirculation systems and hot water storage present Legionella exposure risks and must be flushed if impacted due to a water-disruptive event including construction.||The volume of water flushed for these components should be considered in the BWDS flushing protocols.|
Cleaning, and Maintenance
|Building equipment and devices (e.g., ice machines, misters, showers, pressure washers) should be scheduled for installation or return-to-service in a timely manner (i.e., close to building occupancy) to avoid high water age, bacteria growth and spread [10,56,60,61].||Operators must properly clean and maintain all building equipment using water per the manufacturer’s recommendation prior to initial start-up and during routine operations. Similarly, remove and/or avoid premature installation of terminal fittings on fixtures (e.g., shower heads and hoses, aerators, faucet flow restrictors, screens, and filters in devices) before routine operations or in response to any water-disruptive event.|
|Disinfection||Disinfection is considered a highly effective method in the control of Legionella and can be a secondary, supplemental, or one-time (e.g., hyperchlorination) mitigation strategy .||Important considerations when selecting disinfection method(s) include knowledge of the local municipal water or other water source, and the size and scope of the disruption event.|
|Verification and Validation|
|Policies and procedures for analytical testing following water disruption events are the responsibility of the WMP team and must include the number of locations and the types of testing (e.g., physical, chemical, or microbial) to be performed [56,57].||Each water disruption event is unique and requires an analysis of the size and scope of the event within the context of any existing or future WMPs to determine appropriate verification and validation test methods.|
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Griffin, S.C.; Scanlon, M.M.; Reynolds, K.A. Managing Building Water Disruptions in a Post-COVID World: Water Quality and Safety Risk Assessment Tool for Academic Institutions and School Settings. Buildings 2023, 13, 921. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13040921
Griffin SC, Scanlon MM, Reynolds KA. Managing Building Water Disruptions in a Post-COVID World: Water Quality and Safety Risk Assessment Tool for Academic Institutions and School Settings. Buildings. 2023; 13(4):921. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13040921Chicago/Turabian Style
Griffin, Stephanie C., Molly M. Scanlon, and Kelly A. Reynolds. 2023. "Managing Building Water Disruptions in a Post-COVID World: Water Quality and Safety Risk Assessment Tool for Academic Institutions and School Settings" Buildings 13, no. 4: 921. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13040921