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  • Writer's pictureUte Water

Flushing internal water systems: Action recommended for unoccupied buildings

Ute Water Conservancy District prides itself on delivering the highest-quality domestic water to our 85,000 customers. However, shutdowns of operations, like those implemented in response to COVID-19, result in buildings being unoccupied for extended periods of time. When a building is unoccupied, it is common that water is not being used regularly which can cause the water to become stagnant and can potentially impact water quality.

Experts at Ute Water Conservancy District have detailed the process that businesses and organizations who have vacated a building for an extended period of time can follow to help clear or flush the water of their internal system before reoccupying the building. The goal is to replace stagnant water that has been sitting in the system with fresh, high-quality water. Ute Water highly recommends working with your building’s engineer or facility manager for this process.


Guidelines for Flushing Internal Water Systems Action Recommended for Unoccupied Buildings

Begin each step at the furthest point of where the water enters the building. (If the building has multiple levels, start at the top level and work your way to the first level).

1. Turn on the cold water inside the building. If the building has multiple levels, do this step on every floor. (Sinks, utility closets, restrooms, etc.)

  • When the water temperature shifts from slightly warm to cold, the cold water has successfully been flushed.

2. Flush the hot water storage tanks and boilers (per the manufacturer’s flushing instructions) to displace stagnant water with fresh water.

3. Repeat step one using hot water.

  • When the water temperature shifts from slightly warm to hot, the hot water has successfully been flushed.

4. Flushing and preventative maintenance can be performed on point of use devices and systems (cooling towers, additional treatment devices, etc.) per the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Once internal plumbing and point of use devices or systems have been flushed or properly maintained, the building can be occupied.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also developed specific guidelines for industries, such as hotels and restaurants. Those resources can be found at

Ute Water Conservancy District encourages you to work closely with the building engineer or facility manger to execute this process. Please contact Ute Water at (970) 242-7491 with any additional questions.

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