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MCAA Drafts Sample Letter for Re-Opening Buildings

April 28, 2020
Association looks ahead to help mechanical firms and owners mitigate risks to water and air systems when buildings reopen after pandemic.

From the Mechanical Contractors Association of America's online COVID-19 Resource Center. To see the full template letter for members, click here. Below, some key excerpts... 


As buildings reopen after being shut down or used less during the pandemic, there is an inherent risk to the water and air systems. MCAA has drafted a comprehensive sample letter to send to building owners.

We are reaching out to all our customers to make them aware that buildings that have been shut down or used less frequently during this pandemic have the potential for water quality degradation from stagnation, an issue separate from the COVID-19 crisis.

Stagnant or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria. It also can lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine, in the water system. Unlike the coronavirus, you cannot simply quarantine the system for a few days to make it safe.  The longer that systems are idle, the more likely that these issues can occur.

We all want to get back to work, but to assure the occupants of your building that it is safe to return, we recommend that we flush your entire building. We have established a comprehensive water management program following recommendations of the CDC as well as relevant ASHRAE standards. This includes flushing of all appliances like ice machines, dishwashers and water coolers while wearing the appropriate protective equipment. We will inspect mechanical equipment such as cooling towers, boilers, pumps, backflow preventers and hot water systems.

After flushing we will take water samples for analysis to a qualified independent testing laboratory for results. If test results indicate the need for disinfection, we can chlorinate your water systems and have it back online in a matter of days.

Afterwards, we can develop a water quality safety plan that will protect the long-term security of your employees and visitors for the foreseeable future. We recommend this service for all our customers and will be doing a follow-up call next week.

In addition, after disinfecting a building it is equally important to change all the air filters. One of the processes for cleaning includes a “fog” of the building. The smell may carry over for many weeks but changing the filters can clear the leftover disinfectant from the airstream. You may also want to consider having every RTU and AHU cleaned before the building reopens. This can include spraying the interior with a bleach solution and wiping down, changing filters and bagging and properly disposing of all materials...


For more from MCAA, including an expanded menu of new webinars and crisis management advice, please visit the group's website, and/or follow them on Twitter @MCAANews.