The County of Santa Clara's Shelter-at-Home order remains in effect as some businesses and new activities are allowed to reopen with social distancing protocols and safety requirements in place. For details, visit

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance

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As buildings around the City begin to reopen after extended closure, your Water & Sewer Utilities would like to remind you to check your systems that may not be accustomed to being unused for this long. Please take a look at the guidance below so you can avoid issues arising during your phased reopening:


During the Santa Clara County Shelter in Place Orders, City of Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities staff has continued to diligently conduct routine and regular flushing operations and water quality sampling throughout the City to ensure that we are delivering healthy, high quality water.

Buildings that have been vacant during this extended period of time, may have built up stagnant water in their interior plumbing.

Per guidance from the EPA, CDC, and regional partners, building owners/managers should:

  • Review & understand the plumbing configuration in your building
  • Inspect plumbing
  • Maintain any water treatment systems used
  • Maintain the hot water system
  • Flush the building's plumbing system regularly
    • Flushing involves opening taps and letting water run to remove water that may have been sitting stagnant in interior pipes/outlets
    • Flush times can vary by the plumbing configuration and type of outlet being cleared
    • Cold water should be flushed before hot water
    • Start with flushing the service line that runs from the water main to the building before beginning to flush the rest of the building's plumbing system
    • Flush water at all water points of use (faucets, showers, toilets, drinking fountains, water using devices such as dishwashers, etc.) to replace water that has been standing in the pipes
    • Flushing may need to occur in segments based on the building's plumbing design and water pressure
  • Maintain all non-drinking water building water systems (i.e. eye wash station, sprinkler systems, sanitary sewer and other water/drainage/collection systems) in the building, including filling all drain traps with water to ensure sewer gases cannot enter the building during flushing


 Your building's sewer system, when operating normally, has periods of heavier flow, followed by some lighter flow, but rarely go this long without discharge of any kind. Building managers/owners should consider:

  • Flush your sewer lateral or have a licensed plumber do it for you. Lack of discharge for extended periods can cause contents in the pipe to settle or harden and you may be more likely to experience a backup once discharge begins again.
  • If you have a grease interceptor, you will need to have it serviced on a regular schedule even if it has not been in use for a while.
  • See what Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) can do to your private sewer system as well as the City's public system

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation

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