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Safety First: Building Water System Recommissioning

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Pilot-Credits INpc139: Safety First: Building Water System Recommissioning 1 point

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© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

These special pilot credits are awarded based on project teams attempting to meet the requirements to the best of their ability and providing feedback on the requirements. The credits may change as feedback is received.

To reduce occupant exposure risks associated with degraded water quality in community and building water systems due to stagnant or low water use.

Requirements

For LEED O+M v4.1 initial or LEED v4.1 or v4 recertification projects, projects may be awarded additional LEED points for achieving these credits, up to the maximum 100 points for the rating system.

For LEED v4 O+M initial certification projects, this pilot credit is available for 1 point under Innovation.


Develop and implement a water quality management plan for the building water system and all devices that use water. Develop the plan in accordance with ASHRAE Standard 188-2018: Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems (BWS).

Proactively communicate to building occupants the status of the building’s water systems and steps being taken to maintain water quality, including associated risks and anticipated impacts of flushing and disinfectant activities (e.g. increase in chlorine, smell, taste change, discoloration of drinking water). Contact local governmental public health and water authorities for further information; distribute information regarding water quality risks to building occupants.

Before re-occupying a building that has been unoccupied for more than 3 or 4 days, take Steps 1-3, below.

When testing for legionella, lead, copper and disinfectant byproducts as required in Step 1 and in Step 2, engage a qualified professional independent from the water utility to conduct the testing. The water treatment professional should have a minimum of three years field experience or a Certified Water Technologist (CWT) designation.

Step 1: Address Water Quality from Community Water Supply
Community Water Systems (CWS) also experience reduction in water use due to idled parts of the distribution systems and require attention to address low disinfectant levels, water age, biofouling, nitrification, lead/copper leaching and increased disinfectant byproduct formations.
  • Test first draw of water at the service entrance for discoloration, pH, chlorine, temperature, lead, copper, and legionella bacteria. Compare results to local EPA or Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. (Note that legionella will not be on the EPA list of pathogens to test for but must be performed due to stagnant water in municipal water supply).
  • If water quality meets state and federal requirements move on to Step 2: Water Quality Inside the Building
  • If water quality is poor and below recommended US EPA regulations, notify the CWS and request flushing and increased disinfectant residual of the water distribution mains supplying the building; this will help to reestablish minimum disinfectant levels throughout the water distribution system and reduce biological contaminants in the water. If the CWS or the BWS is experiencing nitrification, and the water has been disinfected with chloramine, the systems may require a free chlorine burn. Extreme care should be used when performing a free chlorine burn as the practice forms significantly more disinfection byproducts which contribute to indoor air contamination.
Step 2: Address Water Quality Inside the Building
Building water systems (BWS) that have been closed for an extended period may become hazardous due to stagnant water. Pathogens and other contaminants can build up and be released when the building water system is fully operational.
  • Test water for discoloration, chlorine, lead, copper, and legionella bacteria at various points throughout the BWS.
  • If water quality is below minimum water quality parameters defined by the local EPA or Safe Drinking Water Act Requirements, thoroughly flush all faucets, showers, toilets and urinals many times to move the water. Aerators and appliance screens should be removed to flush out sediment. Anyone involved in flushing must wear an N-95 respirator mask and personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Refer to resource "Developing a Building Potable Water System Flushing Program” by Legionella Risk Management for a step-by-step guide to starting or restarting the BWS.
    • Consult plumbing guides to determine time required for flushing.
    • Consider secondary disinfection of the building potable water supply if flushing does not bring disinfectant levels to code or legionella levels are not reduced.
  • Consider exposure points to stagnant water, e.g. meter screens, backflow preventers, whirlpools, spas, hot water heaters, storage tanks, water filters, humidifiers, misters, drinking fountains, ice machines, decorative fountains, all HVAC equipment that uses water for humidifying or cooling.
  • Flush and disinfect the building as required based on the water quality testing results. If chemical disinfection of the BWS is required, engage a qualified professional with expertise in potable building water disinfection, such as a water treatment provider, local public water system operator, or qualified plumbing contractor.
    • If testing reveals widespread or high levels of Legionella in the BWS, remedial measures such as shock chlorination and thermal disinfection may be needed. Refer to the CDC and US EPA guidance for remedial measures.
Step 3. Maintain Building Water Systems
Ensure ongoing maintenance of the BWS after testing and flushing is complete.
  • After the BWS has returned to normal, ensure that the risk of pathogen growth is minimized by regularly checking water quality parameters such as temperature, pH, and disinfectant levels.
  • Follow the Water Management Program, document activities, and promptly intervene when unplanned program deviations arise.


The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is an ongoing, developing situation with a rapidly changing legal and regulatory landscape; the information and guidance provided in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits may at any time not be current and USGBC does not guarantee the accuracy of the information. In preparing this guidance and its conclusions and recommendations, USGBC has tried to incorporate the best available information at the time the guidance was prepared. The results of future studies may require revisions to the recommendations in this guidance.

The recommendations included in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits do not set a standard, nor should they be deemed either inclusive of all proper methods or exclusive of other methods for workplace reentry. The ultimate judgment regarding the utility of any specific approach and when it is safe to re-enter workspaces must be made by you in light of all circumstances and variables.

USGBC encourages projects teams and owners to monitor publicly available information and to always follow federal, state and local health organization guidance and government mandates. Where appropriate, you should seek the advice of an appropriate licensed professional or relevant government office in your location for advice on current laws and regulations.

Submittals

General
Register for the pilot credit Feedback Survey
Documentation/Compliance
  • Building water quality management plan
  • Test results from community water system
  • Test results from building water system
  • Documentation of building flushing activities
  • Documentation of building disinfection activities, as applicable
  • Documentation of qualified independent professional(s) engaged to conduct testing and disinfection activities, as appropriate to the project scope
Changes
  • 6/3/20 - Original Publication
  • 6/26/20 - Added requirements for water treatment professionals & removed reference to the WELL Health Safety Standard.
See all forum discussions about this credit »

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USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

These special pilot credits are awarded based on project teams attempting to meet the requirements to the best of their ability and providing feedback on the requirements. The credits may change as feedback is received.

To reduce occupant exposure risks associated with degraded water quality in community and building water systems due to stagnant or low water use.

Requirements

For LEED O+M v4.1 initial or LEED v4.1 or v4 recertification projects, projects may be awarded additional LEED points for achieving these credits, up to the maximum 100 points for the rating system.

For LEED v4 O+M initial certification projects, this pilot credit is available for 1 point under Innovation.


Develop and implement a water quality management plan for the building water system and all devices that use water. Develop the plan in accordance with ASHRAE Standard 188-2018: Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems (BWS).

Proactively communicate to building occupants the status of the building’s water systems and steps being taken to maintain water quality, including associated risks and anticipated impacts of flushing and disinfectant activities (e.g. increase in chlorine, smell, taste change, discoloration of drinking water). Contact local governmental public health and water authorities for further information; distribute information regarding water quality risks to building occupants.

Before re-occupying a building that has been unoccupied for more than 3 or 4 days, take Steps 1-3, below.

When testing for legionella, lead, copper and disinfectant byproducts as required in Step 1 and in Step 2, engage a qualified professional independent from the water utility to conduct the testing. The water treatment professional should have a minimum of three years field experience or a Certified Water Technologist (CWT) designation.

Step 1: Address Water Quality from Community Water Supply
Community Water Systems (CWS) also experience reduction in water use due to idled parts of the distribution systems and require attention to address low disinfectant levels, water age, biofouling, nitrification, lead/copper leaching and increased disinfectant byproduct formations.
  • Test first draw of water at the service entrance for discoloration, pH, chlorine, temperature, lead, copper, and legionella bacteria. Compare results to local EPA or Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. (Note that legionella will not be on the EPA list of pathogens to test for but must be performed due to stagnant water in municipal water supply).
  • If water quality meets state and federal requirements move on to Step 2: Water Quality Inside the Building
  • If water quality is poor and below recommended US EPA regulations, notify the CWS and request flushing and increased disinfectant residual of the water distribution mains supplying the building; this will help to reestablish minimum disinfectant levels throughout the water distribution system and reduce biological contaminants in the water. If the CWS or the BWS is experiencing nitrification, and the water has been disinfected with chloramine, the systems may require a free chlorine burn. Extreme care should be used when performing a free chlorine burn as the practice forms significantly more disinfection byproducts which contribute to indoor air contamination.
Step 2: Address Water Quality Inside the Building
Building water systems (BWS) that have been closed for an extended period may become hazardous due to stagnant water. Pathogens and other contaminants can build up and be released when the building water system is fully operational.
  • Test water for discoloration, chlorine, lead, copper, and legionella bacteria at various points throughout the BWS.
  • If water quality is below minimum water quality parameters defined by the local EPA or Safe Drinking Water Act Requirements, thoroughly flush all faucets, showers, toilets and urinals many times to move the water. Aerators and appliance screens should be removed to flush out sediment. Anyone involved in flushing must wear an N-95 respirator mask and personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Refer to resource "Developing a Building Potable Water System Flushing Program” by Legionella Risk Management for a step-by-step guide to starting or restarting the BWS.
    • Consult plumbing guides to determine time required for flushing.
    • Consider secondary disinfection of the building potable water supply if flushing does not bring disinfectant levels to code or legionella levels are not reduced.
  • Consider exposure points to stagnant water, e.g. meter screens, backflow preventers, whirlpools, spas, hot water heaters, storage tanks, water filters, humidifiers, misters, drinking fountains, ice machines, decorative fountains, all HVAC equipment that uses water for humidifying or cooling.
  • Flush and disinfect the building as required based on the water quality testing results. If chemical disinfection of the BWS is required, engage a qualified professional with expertise in potable building water disinfection, such as a water treatment provider, local public water system operator, or qualified plumbing contractor.
    • If testing reveals widespread or high levels of Legionella in the BWS, remedial measures such as shock chlorination and thermal disinfection may be needed. Refer to the CDC and US EPA guidance for remedial measures.
Step 3. Maintain Building Water Systems
Ensure ongoing maintenance of the BWS after testing and flushing is complete.
  • After the BWS has returned to normal, ensure that the risk of pathogen growth is minimized by regularly checking water quality parameters such as temperature, pH, and disinfectant levels.
  • Follow the Water Management Program, document activities, and promptly intervene when unplanned program deviations arise.


The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is an ongoing, developing situation with a rapidly changing legal and regulatory landscape; the information and guidance provided in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits may at any time not be current and USGBC does not guarantee the accuracy of the information. In preparing this guidance and its conclusions and recommendations, USGBC has tried to incorporate the best available information at the time the guidance was prepared. The results of future studies may require revisions to the recommendations in this guidance.

The recommendations included in the LEED Safety First Pilot Credits do not set a standard, nor should they be deemed either inclusive of all proper methods or exclusive of other methods for workplace reentry. The ultimate judgment regarding the utility of any specific approach and when it is safe to re-enter workspaces must be made by you in light of all circumstances and variables.

USGBC encourages projects teams and owners to monitor publicly available information and to always follow federal, state and local health organization guidance and government mandates. Where appropriate, you should seek the advice of an appropriate licensed professional or relevant government office in your location for advice on current laws and regulations.

Submittals

General
Register for the pilot credit Feedback Survey
Documentation/Compliance
  • Building water quality management plan
  • Test results from community water system
  • Test results from building water system
  • Documentation of building flushing activities
  • Documentation of building disinfection activities, as applicable
  • Documentation of qualified independent professional(s) engaged to conduct testing and disinfection activities, as appropriate to the project scope
Changes
  • 6/3/20 - Original Publication
  • 6/26/20 - Added requirements for water treatment professionals & removed reference to the WELL Health Safety Standard.
See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about Pilot-Credits INpc139