Covid-19 Drinking Water Modifications

Facilities Management Approach to Drinking Water Systems Amid COVID-19

Facilities Management (FM) at CSU developed a Drinking Water Management Plan in late March, 2020, early during the COVID-19 pandemic. CSU owns and operates three water distribution systems within the City of Fort Collins. By late March 2020, CSU was faced with unoccupied and sparsely occupied buildings across the West, Main, Foothills, and South Campuses; resulting in significantly lower water usage. Lower water usage can be directly correlated to lower chlorine levels in the water systems. CSU’s Certified Water Operators (CSU-CWO) team evaluated the situation, assessed the potential risks, and developed a plan to ensure chlorine levels were adequate to maintain high quality drinking water. Our team has been conducting intense monitoring of building drinking water quality throughout the pandemic.

Chlorine Testing:

  • CSU Certified Water Operators, Environmental Health Services (EHS) Water Quality Laboratory microbiologists, and Trades staff from Housing and Dining Services (HDS) began by spot checking over 100 buildings in early 2020 to establish baseline chlorine concentrations

  • Chlorine testing occurs regularly at CSU. Pre-pandemic testing levels were around 40 per month. During the pandemic, testing was increased by about 400%. The team has conducted thousands of tests.

  • Approximately one dozen CSU buildings were posted with bi-lingual signage “Drinking Water Temporarily Out of Service” in the early stages of the pandemic. The signage was approved by the CSU Pandemic Preparedness Team (PPT)

Flushing Operations:

  • · The CSU-CWO team, along with support from FM custodians and plumbers, had consistently flushed drinking water fixtures on a regular basis to maintain high quality drinking water

  • FM staff analyzes water usage in buildings through our metering systems, looks at historical chlorine-level data, and the current occupancy in buildings to aid in decision making.

Communications:

  • The CSU-CWO team initiated a campus-wide communication outreach effort which included over one dozen remote campuses across the state

  • Additionally, CSU coordinated, collaborated, and shared information with the City of Fort Collins for combined messaging

  • The CSU-CWO team established and has routinely updated a Recovery Plan for Drinking Water Recommissioning prior to reoccupation of buildings. The plan includes directions for robust flushing and testing of buildings prior to reoccupancy.

Current Status – August, 2020:

  • CSU intends to have good quality drinking water at nearly every building as campuses reopen in August 2021. Only 2 buildings remain on the “Drinking Water Temporarily Out of Service” list. These buildings are either mostly used for storage and / or still sparsely occupied