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Water supply lines that's been stagnant for a while

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Boschmanbrian 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #693034

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    For those of you who runs into stagnant residential supply lines, either as a plumber being called in or in a remodel/rehab where you know the property has been vacant for a while, and water has even been shutoff due to non payment, perhaps a foreclosured abandoned property, where water has not been used for months, or years. This mean you have stagnant water in the supply system with the Legionella bacteria.

    https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html

    Just curious once you have the water turned back on, what are your procedure to flush the system out if you know it hasn’t been used for a long time?

    My understanding is if you just say turn a hose bib on outside the water would jet out with the bacteria into the air and into your lungs. Same if you say have a broken stop valve inside and you have to cut the pipe to replace the valve or run the water through the tub/shower valve to the shower head.

    Do you do anything different to minimize your exposure to Legionella in those situations?

    #722906

    Thanks for the post.

    #723193

    Doobie
    Pro

    For those of you who runs into stagnant residential supply lines, either as a plumber being called in or in a remodel/rehab where you know the property has been vacant for a while, and water has even been shutoff due to non payment, perhaps a foreclosured abandoned property, where water has not been used for months, or years. This mean you have stagnant water in the supply system with the Legionella bacteria.

    https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html

    Just curious once you have the water turned back on, what are your procedure to flush the system out if you know it hasn’t been used for a long time?

    My understanding is if you just say turn a hose bib on outside the water would jet out with the bacteria into the air and into your lungs. Same if you say have a broken stop valve inside and you have to cut the pipe to replace the valve or run the water through the tub/shower valve to the shower head.

    Do you do anything different to minimize your exposure to Legionella in those situations?

    Had no idea stagnant water lines were a culprit for Legionaires. Thanks for posting.

    #723195

    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    For those of you who runs into stagnant residential supply lines, either as a plumber being called in or in a remodel/rehab where you know the property has been vacant for a while, and water has even been shutoff due to non payment, perhaps a foreclosured abandoned property, where water has not been used for months, or years. This mean you have stagnant water in the supply system with the Legionella bacteria.

    https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html

    Just curious once you have the water turned back on, what are your procedure to flush the system out if you know it hasn’t been used for a long time?

    My understanding is if you just say turn a hose bib on outside the water would jet out with the bacteria into the air and into your lungs. Same if you say have a broken stop valve inside and you have to cut the pipe to replace the valve or run the water through the tub/shower valve to the shower head.

    Do you do anything different to minimize your exposure to Legionella in those situations?

    Had no idea stagnant water lines were a culprit for Legionaires. Thanks for posting.

    There is a host of things that can breed in disused plumbing. Flushing the entire system with chlorine is a good first step in dealing with many of the possibilities but you need to evacuate the system first.

    I’ve never considered the airborne problems like legionaires; that brings with it a whole new set of issues. I wonder if it would help to direct the flow from that outside bib through a hose and run it into a pail of chlorine?

    There are only two ways to do things; the right way and again.

    #723293

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I think if the discharge of the hose is a sufficient distance from the faucet, flushing the system would not cause consequences.

    Just because you have stagnant water, does not necessarily mean there is Legionella bacteria there, only that there is a chance of it. If it just popped up because the water in the pipes was stagnant, there would have been thousands of cases here in the US during the foreclosure crisis. It was SOP for banks to shut off the water in foreclosed homes.

    You would also see a lot if it in places like Arizona where the snowbirds leave in the spring and shut off their water systems for 6 to 9 months when they go home, and the same for their places up north. We do it at our lake place also where it can be shut down for 8 months over the winter also. My father has been doing this for 20 years without issue.

    Saying that there is Legionella bacteria there solely because the water has been stagnant for a while is a little bit of a stretch I believe.

    #723318

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    well, temperature of the water makes a big difference. For this reason the chance of this happening in Florida is much higher than it happening in say Wisconsin or Alberta. Warm water tends to promote bacterial growth. Stagnant or non moving water has a much higher risk not only because the water is not “moving” but also because whatever disinfectant in the water will dissipate after a certain period of time, same reason plumbing code restricts dead ends in pipe to a certain length.

    Turning on the outside bib through a hose will only move the water prior to it enters the building. Once inside the building the lines runs in all directions and especially in foreclosed homes where you run into all kinds of seized/broken valves, dead water heaters where the pipes need to be cut, and that’s where you may run into misting/spraying water during the cutting. I flush the outside with a hose, and if I can find a working valve inside, I turn water off then vac as much water out as possible through that valve.

    #723334

    Boschmanbrian
    Pro
    Montreal , QC, Canada

    well, temperature of the water makes a big difference. For this reason the chance of this happening in Florida is much higher than it happening in say Wisconsin or Alberta. Warm water tends to promote bacterial growth. Stagnant or non moving water has a much higher risk not only because the water is not “moving” but also because whatever disinfectant in the water will dissipate after a certain period of time, same reason plumbing code restricts dead ends in pipe to a certain length.

    Turning on the outside bib through a hose will only move the water prior to it enters the building. Once inside the building the lines runs in all directions and especially in foreclosed homes where you run into all kinds of seized/broken valves, dead water heaters where the pipes need to be cut, and that’s where you may run into misting/spraying water during the cutting. I flush the outside with a hose, and if I can find a working valve inside, I turn water off then vac as much water out as possible through that valve.

    Geeze , thanks for the post , I had no idea

    So what is the determined factors for time that the water is turned off that it could become contaminated.

    Also if you use a vacuum to suck up the lines after you flush them , what do you do with the water in the vacuum , I guess you just dispose of it regularly

    Interesting topic.
    What about pools

    #723347

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    So what is the determined factors for time that the water is turned off that it could become contaminated.

    Also if you use a vacuum to suck up the lines after you flush them , what do you do with the water in the vacuum , I guess you just dispose of it regularly

    Interesting topic.
    What about pools

    Don’t know about how long it takes. My understanding is it takes a number of conditions for it to happen. Also only if the bacteria gets into the air and inhaled. So turning on a faucet won’t be an issue, turning on a hose nozzle into “mist” mode or cutting a pipe where it sprays or mist is an issue. Besides, if you are doing rehabs on vacant homes, you rarely know the history of the place anyway if it’s been vacant how long.

    Pools are no issue it’s open, in Florida neglected pool with stagnant water just turns into a mosquito and frog infested swamp with a carpet of algae and the pool then needs to be drained fully and acid washed.

    #723357

    Boschmanbrian
    Pro
    Montreal , QC, Canada

    So what is the determined factors for time that the water is turned off that it could become contaminated.

    Also if you use a vacuum to suck up the lines after you flush them , what do you do with the water in the vacuum , I guess you just dispose of it regularly

    Interesting topic.
    What about pools

    Don’t know about how long it takes. My understanding is it takes a number of conditions for it to happen. Also only if the bacteria gets into the air and inhaled. So turning on a faucet won’t be an issue, turning on a hose nozzle into “mist” mode or cutting a pipe where it sprays or mist is an issue. Besides, if you are doing rehabs on vacant homes, you rarely know the history of the place anyway if it’s been vacant how long.

    Pools are no issue it’s open, in Florida neglected pool with stagnant water just turns into a mosquito and frog infested swamp with a carpet of algae and the pool then needs to be drained fully and acid washed.

    Okay that’s what I was thinking.
    I’ve never really worked on any house that’s been abandoned or had any of the issues of having the water shut down

    Thanks for the info.

    Those 🐸 I would think would be handy with all the mosquitoes and larvae 😁

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