As businesses begin to reopen, Howard County’s Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Utilities (PWBU) is advising commercial building operators to flush their plumbing systems with fresh water before resuming normal operations. It is not unusual for domestic potable water plumbing systems to experience water quality issues (taste, odor or cloudiness) after periods of little-to-no water use.

Any water left stagnant in building plumbing systems can degrade in quality and safety, potentially causing water discoloration and elevated levels of lead and other contaminants. Bacteria like Legionella and other microbes can also grow in building pipes and fixtures during periods of little-to-no water use. This guidance is provided in accordance with the Centers of Disease Control.

To learn more, visit the CDC’s website at