Water Safety for COVID-19 Reopenings

Apr 28, 2020

Ensure Safe Water When Reopening for Business

Businesses and buildings that have been closed during the stay-at-home order are reminded of the importance of flushing the water system as one of the first steps to reopen for business especially when working directly with the public.

Stagnant, or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of biofilm-associated bacteria. When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease allowing bacteria to reach its growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C). Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of potential diseases associated with stagnant water.

City Utilities recommends following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which includes a complete flushing of the hot and cold water systems in a business or building that has been involved in a prolonged shutdown period. Information on these procedures and additional safety steps can be found at this CDC site.

Research from the CDC demonstrates that the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in any water supplies and that water treatment methods should be successful in removing or inactivating the virus. The concern mentioned with this release is that of stagnant water in buildings and businesses, or any structure that has not been used during the stay-at-home order and dealing directly with customers, employees, or residents.

Water and delivery systems beyond the meter and inside structures are the responsibility of the home and business owners.  If you have questions on the quality of your water after a prolonged shutdown, contact CU at 417-831-8391.


CU is constantly preparing for many kinds of emergencies, such as storms and other natural disasters; cyber and physical threats; and other events that may create disruptions to work and the workforce. CU is following its Pandemic Response and Business Continuation plans that have been in place but are adjusting as needed for this event.  These policies help to ensure that there is adequate coverage to continue the reliable delivery of electricity, natural gas, water, broadband and transit services.