Welsh Water Advises businesses on re-opening premises safely

30 March 2021

  • Pandemic restrictions have led to many business premises being closed for a prolonged period
  • Key steps need to be followed when restoring your drinking water and wastewater systems

Welsh Water is advising businesses across Wales to take certain steps when reopening after lockdown to ensure their water is safe to use and their sewer pipes don’t get blocked.

Government restrictions recently placed on organisations have seen many buildings and sites closed for a prolonged period of time. Businesses may have closed their premises quickly, meaning they didn’t have time to follow their normal cleaning and maintenance regime.

Within an unused building, the water in the drinking water system will have been left standing. This can adversely affect the quality of drinking water and potentially risk people’s health. The length of closure may also mean that drains and pipes have a build-up of waste in them, and that the equipment that stops fat, oil and grease getting into pipes may not have been cleaned for some time, potentially causing sewer blockages.

With that in mind, it’s important to take certain steps before the building is reoccupied. Before they open, businesses are therefore being encouraged to:

  • Run all the taps in the building or site individually (also known as flushing) - starting with the tap nearest to where the water enters the building and moving systematically to the ones furthest away, until the water is clear and feels cool to touch.
  • Empty and refill any storage cisterns with water direct from the incoming supply, before the taps are flushed.
  • Ensure any appliances (and equipment connected to the water supply such as jet washers) are flushed - in accordance with manufacturers’ guidance. For larger buildings with more complex pipework, you’ll probably need to carry out more extensive flushing followed by cleaning and disinfection.
  • Clean your equipment – before you start cooking, make sure your grease management system is thoroughly cleaned in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check your drains and sink gullies – if the drains and sinks haven’t been used for some time, they could have dried up and have waste stuck in them. Check your sink gullies for any blockages and flush your drains through with water. You could also use a bio-dosing liquid or liquid fat-buster as you prepare to reopen, however, this should not take the place of a grease management system when you are operating again.

More detail on the steps to take can be found on our website.

Ian Wyatt, Welsh Water’s Business Customer Services Director, said: “We know business customers have got a lot on their plate at the moment and are keen to get up and running once again. However, there are key steps to make before reopening your building or site to ensure the quality of your drinking water isn’t affected and that you don’t end up with a costly sewer blockage.”