Winter 2021 Newsletter Print

President's Report

Happy New Year!  I’ve spent some time reflecting back on 2020 and like many of you, I instantly recall the challenges and frustrations.  The virus forced us to uproot ourselves from our daily routines and rethink how we structure our days and where and how we take care of business.  However, the more I think about it, there were definitely some positives.  By working from home more, and eliminating the windshield time, I was able to restructure my day to help include more time for my family and myself.  I have 2 young children and a beautiful wife, all of which are stuck at home with me.  It was a blessing to see them all throughout the day and not just at daycare pickup and bedtime.  We were able to rethink our family routine and reprioritize.  I would challenge everyone to spend a few minutes and reminisce about a few good things that came out of a trying 2020.

The virus has certainly impacted our industry and it has challenged all of us to rethink how we design buildings.  I have thoroughly enjoyed participating and hearing all of the ideas from consultants, contractors and suppliers.  There are a lot of great ideas presented and with no silver bullet, it will take some creativity putting forward the right combination to effectively minimize risks in an efficient manner.  Our clients are counting on all of us to use our expertise to create a safe space for their employees and keep them in the offices.  I firmly believe there is no replacement for actual face time (not through a computer screen) and the collaboration that can occur when people are physically together.  It’s a challenging time but also exciting, we all play a role in this evolution!

Our committee chairs have helped put together some great articles in this newsletter and I would encourage you to take some time to read through them.  I would like to call out the COVID Task Force for their ongoing dedication to providing support across the State.  Most recently, they were called on by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for guidance on reopening restaurants.  It’s exciting to see our Task Force being viewed as a reliable source of information in a time of need.  I’m proud of the team and applaud their ongoing commitment. 

The 2021 meeting schedule is locked in, so please keep those times reserved.  We are squeezing in a few additional meetings throughout the remainder of the year including the YEA sponsored Journal Club and a COVID Task Force sponsored air cleaning webinar.  There may be a few more as well, so keep an eye out for the invites or check our website for updates.  We are also excited to be planning for the golf outing in June, so start lining up your foursomes and prepare to register soon.  Thank you to all of our generous sponsors, without you we would have a much more challenging time hitting our Research Promotion targets. 

Last year brought plenty of surprises but seeing our members come together and contribute in new ways was pretty special.  Thanks again for continuing to be active members in our Chapter and being creative in a tough time.  Feel free to reach out to me anytime with any questions or feedback. 

 

Brad Herbeck
[email protected]

(248)410-7038

Back to top

Next Meeting Update

Back to top

Golf Outing

SAVE THE DATE

Get your clubs cleaned up and pull together your foursomes, we could all use a day out with good company!  The outing committee is hard at work planning the details for another fun day.  We are grateful for our generous sponsors and will have some exciting opportunities available soon, so stay tuned.

Back to top

YEA

The first Journal Club meeting was successful so YEA is sponsoring another one and would welcome anyone to join the conversation.  Please plan to grab a sandwich and call in for a good discussion with your peers.  The YEA committee is also brainstorming some other ideas to pull people together virtually so keep an eye out for additional invites.

Back to top

Chapter Technology Transfer

ASHRAE Technology Awards 2021

It’s time to start thinking about a project to submit for the ASHRAE Technology Awards this upcoming spring!  For the past several years the Detroit Chapter has received multiple Regional and Society level awards for entries in the Technology Award competition.  This year we hope the legacy will continue.  You can be a part of this legacy by submitting a project.  All you have to do is be an ASHRAE member, have an innovative or energy efficient design, and fill out the application. 

The purpose of the ASHRAE Technology Awards is threefold:

  1. To recognize ASHRAE members who design and/or conceive innovative technological concepts that are proven through actual operating data.
  2. To communicate innovative systems design to other ASHRAE members.
  3. To highlight technological achievements of ASHRAE to others, including associated professionals and societies worldwide, as well as building and facility owners.

ASHRAE Technology Award applications are accepted in each of the following categories:

  1. Commercial Buildings (New and Existing)
  2. Institutional Buildings (New and Existing)
    • Educational Facilities
    • Other Institutional
  3. Health Care Facilities (New and Existing)
  4. Industrial Facilities or Processes (New and Existing)
  5. Public Assembly Facilities (New and Existing)
  6. Residential (New and Existing)

This year we want the Detroit Chapter in the winner’s circle again. Of course this competition also serves as a means for passing on of new technology to future engineers.  If you have a design that you think is worth sharing…go ahead and submit it!  Chapter level submission deadline: May 30th.

The National winner for this past year came from our Region 5 (Indiana, Michigan & Ohio):

First Place ASHRAE Technology Award in the Educational Facilities - Existing Category for the Historic Mercy High School Renovation / CPS Gamble Montessori project in Cincinnati, OH. The ASHRAE Technology Awards program recognizes outstanding achievement in the design and operation of energy efficient buildings. The form of the award is a plaque for winning entrants and building owners.

This project will be featured in the March 2021 issue of the ASHRAE Journal.

Interesting fact: Our Chapter entry from PBA (University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus) was only 6 points short to qualify nationally.

If you want more information, the “Technology Award Program Overview, Requirements, Judging Criteria and Helpful Hints” are available on ASHRAE’s website at the following link: https://www.ashrae.org/membership/honors-and-awards/technology-awards-program-overview

or you can email Aru Sau at [email protected] with any questions you may have.

Involvement in Technical Committee

Technical Activities Committee (TAC) coordinates HVAC&R technical activities, including appointment, development and oversight of technical committees, task groups and technical resource groups.

Pick a category based on your interest and get involved in the TAC. YEA are most welcome in any of the TCs. ASHRAE runs by the spirit of volunteers. Any ideas are welcome; may it be program related, research, handbook, standard and/or student mentoring.

You can search for your favorite TC and apply for membership for a TC from here -

https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/technical-committees

 

Back to top

Scholarships

This spring we have two scholarships that we will be trying to award to a deserving student.  Our Student Activities Committee is in the process of updating the scholarship information and applications for both and will be posting them on the Chapter website very shortly.  Once they are posted we will try to get the word out by connecting with the local colleges and building awareness through our LinkedIn account.  I would encourage all of you to spread the word as well – I’m sure there are plenty of students pursuing a career in the HVAC industry that could use a little financial support.

Joseph B. Olivieri Scholarship

  • Scholarship information and application can be found on website today

Shashikant F. Dani Scholarship (NEW!)

  • More information and application will be posted on our website shortly

https://detroitashrae.org/Academic_Scholarships

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Student Activities Chair, Max Sitek ([email protected]) or Brad Herbeck ([email protected]).          

Back to top

Research Promotion

The 2020-2021 RP Campaign is well underway and on a successful track. Thanks to our chapter’s successful September Golf Outing, continued donor support, and some contributions to RP from our meeting sponsors, our campaign is positioned to meet and possibly exceed our 2020-2021 goal of $26,800. As of this writing our chapter has currently raised over $11,500 and is leading Region V for dollars raised.

Traditionally, ASHRAE Detroit likes to use the Holiday December meeting as Donor Recognition Night to formally recognize and thank those who supported the previous year’s RP campaign.  While we were unable to host an in person meeting, we carried out Donor Recognition virtually during our December meeting. For those of you who were unable to attend our December Meeting, we are including our Donor Recognition in this Newsletter in an extra effort to recognize our donors’ efforts and generosity.

Our Detroit Chapter was one of the few who met and exceeded their 2019-2020 RP Goal, raising over $35,000.  This was due in large part to the formation of a new chapter scholarship. There are (11) endowed chapter level scholarships across ASHRAE Society. Of these 11 chapter scholarships, ASHRAE Detroit now has (2) of them – The Joseph B. Olivieri Scholarship and the Shashikant F. Dani Scholarship fund.

The new Shashikant F. Dani Scholarship Fund was established from the following generous contributions:

  • Golden Circle Donors Contribution > $10,000
    • Mr. Shashikant F. Dani
    • The Skillman Foundation
  • ASHRAE PartnerContribution > $5,000
    • Mr. Lawrence Thurman

In addition to the new scholarship, the success of 2019-2020 campaign was also due to the continued support from our individual private donors and company donors:

  • Major Donors – Bronze Contribution > $500                                                                     
    • Fontanesi and Kann Co.
  • Major Donors – Antique Individuals Contribution > $250
    • Ms. Filza H. Walters
    • Mr. Joseph H. Holland
    • Dr. Parikshita Nayak
  • Honor Roll Individuals Contribution > $250
    • Mr. Richard A. Bither
    • Mr. David H. Brooks
    • Mr. Joseph G. Connors
    • Mr. Derek A. Crowe
    • Mr. Ramchandra L. Patel
    • Mr. Nathaniel C. Stalker
    • Dr. Kishor K. Khankari
  • Organization and Individual Donors
    • Organizations:
      • Sarmento Mechanical Sales Inc.               
      • Performance Engineering Group               
      • Griffin International LLC
    • Individuals:       
      • Mr. Jacob R. Hoogterp                 
      • Mr. Kelly B. Sugg                            
      • Mr. Daniel E. Pless               
      • Mr. Charles R. Scales Jr.
      • Mr. Richard A. Cramer                  
      • Mr. Raymond J. Tessier                
      • Mr. Brian Noonan               
      • Dr. Charles R. Maccluer
      • Ms. Janice K. Means                      
      • Mr. Bradley S. Herbeck                 
      • Mrs. Brittany K. Fiema  
      • Mr. Fabrizio Pesce

 

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR DONORS!

If you have fundraising ideas, questions about RP, or would like to support the 2020-2021 RP Campaign, please contact your friendly Research Promotion Chair,

 

Alec Cramer

Email: [email protected]

Cell: 810-614-9885

 

To donate online, please visit www.ashrae.org/research

Back to top

Membership Promotion

As a member of the engineering community here in Detroit, I am proud of ASHRAE’s continued commitment to providing value to our members while advancing the HVAC sciences for a healthier built environment, especially amid a global pandemic. Despite the challenges we have all faced in 2020, ASHRAE Detroit has continued to provide valuable learning opportunities to our membership. Our chapter saw the addition of over 20 new members in 2020 (Students and Professionals). We want to welcome all new members to our community and encourage you all to participate often and network with our 500+ member community!

ASHRAE is the largest international organization focused on shaping the built environment, with over 57,000 members in 132 countries. Membership in ASHRAE has many benefits, including access to the latest and best technical information in the HVAC&R industry, professional development, and networking with peers.

We can also report that as of 12/31/2020, over 50 members have missed their renewal for the year of 2020. Please take a moment today to review your membership status and consider automatic renewal (a new feature this year!).

To renew: https://www.ashrae.org/membership/my-ashrae/renew-my-membership

I want to encourage each of you to reach out and promote ASHRAE to other potential members with the goal in mind to sign up a member.

If you have been a continued member of ASHRAE for over 30 years, and are age 65+, you may be able to be upgraded to Life Member status and are not required to pay dues. If you feel that you are eligible, please reach out to Kurt Cunningham ([email protected]) to review your membership profile.

If you are already a Life Member, you have chosen to devote your time to a wonderful organization!  As I’m sure you may be aware, membership in ASHRAE has many benefits. As a lifelong member, I encourage you to reach out and share your ASHRAE story!

If you are currently an Affiliate or Associate member of ASHRAE, have a 4-year college degree, and a PE license, you are likely eligible for an upgrade to Member level. Membership upgrades are very easy to do and really help out the chapter. If you feel you are eligible, please log in to ASHRAE.org and update your membership profile, then send an email to Kurt Cunningham ([email protected]) for quick and easy upgrade!

 

For additional information:

https://www.ashrae.org/membership/membership-faqs

https://www.ashrae.org/membership/member-benefits#toolkit

Back to top

Society News

The ESD Affiliate Council met on Wednesday, November 18th, where the following information was shared.

2021 Gold Award Reception Information

  • Will be held on March 17, 2021 (site location or virtual TBD)  
  • Gold Award Nominations deadline is Friday, December 11, 2020.  The submission form may be downloaded from: https://www.esd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Gold-Award-Nomination-Form-2021.docx .
  • All individual Society recognition awardee names will be due in February of 2021.  The following additional information will be required:   name of your awards, hi-res photo of your awardees, and a brief bio for the emcee to read as you give them your award. Remember all societies are responsible for bringing their own physical awards, but ESD will provide the professional photographer to take pictures of your winners, as well as group society photos.

** If you have any questions about the Gold Awards Reception, kindly advise or contact Elana Shelef directly.  Elana's contact information is:  [email protected] or 248.353.0735, ext 119.

ESD Upcoming Events

Additional future events through March which Detroit ASHRAE members may be interested in hearing about follow with hyperlinks:

 

Judges Needed for Virtual Future City

This year's challenge: Living on the Moon

 

We are looking for engineers and technical professionals to serve as judges for the 2021 Michigan Regional Future City Competition. The role of the judge is to draw on their expertise and resources to fairly evaluate the team's efforts.

Judges are needed for four phases of the competition:

  • City Essay
  • City Presentation Video
  • City Model Slide Show
  • City Q & A

All phases will be judged remotely. The City Q & A will be judged remotely on competition day, Thursday, February 25, 2021, between 9 a.m. - 12 noon.

To volunteer, please register no later than Friday, January 22, 2021, at this website: https://secure.futurecity.org/Michigan/JudgeBin/Judge/Enroll.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Leslie A. Smith, CMP at 248-353-0735, ext. 152 or [email protected].

Back to top

Government Affairs Committee

UPDATE from the MI Joint Chapters of ASHRAE COVID-19 Task Force

By Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, CMVP, LEED-AP

 

The new year has begun and the Joint MI Chapters of ASHRAE have hit the ground running. Read on to see what we’ve been up to.

Teaming to Deliver the Michigan K-12 Public School HVAC Assistance Program

We will be continuing our partnership with the Michigan Department of Energy Great Lakes & the Environment (EGLE) and the Department of Education. EGLE has extended its Michigan K-12 Public School HVAC Assistance Program. Currently, there is no definitive end date. Very likely, the program will run until funds are exhausted. Previously, the program endeavored to provide HVAC system assessments for 100 MI school buildings. The extension will likely mean assessments for more schools. The assessments are accomplished by visiting the site, reviewing the HVAC systems and completing the EGLE provided Checklist. A link to the Program website with complete details is available on the Detroit Chapter’s COVID-19 Task Force page

Please note that, while the EGLE website says that funding is provided to Michigan licensed HVAC contractors, other service providers may participate in this program as well. All service providers must be licensed in MI. In lieu of an HVAC contractor’s license, consulting engineering firms can provide the license of their chief mechanical engineer or they can partner with a licensed contractor. This is participation is encouraged because the assessment includes system improvement recommendations, which the consultant or engineer is well-suited to provide.

Volunteers from MI’s two ASHRAE Chapters can participate in this program in two ways:

  • School participation requires the completion of a pre-assessment survey. The survey is somewhat technical in nature with questions about filter MERV ratings and such. Some schools do not have on site personnel that are comfortable completing it. Members of the volunteer corps from our two chapters assist the school facility staff person in completing the survey. This is usually a 20-minute virtual conversation.
  • Some school facility teams are interested to know, in general, what they should be doing with their HVAC systems to help reduce risks transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. These school personnel may not belong to professional societies like ASHRAE where they have regular access to technical information. And, because our monthly meetings and annual conferences tend to “get into the weeds,” information there may not be best suited for this type of triage work. Members of the volunteer corps from our two chapters can provide the school facility team a one-on-one seminar presentation on ASHRAE recommendations for filter MERVs, relative humidity levels and increasing ventilation rates. The presentation is agnostic, meaning that it favors no particular manufacturer and presenters have agreed to represent only ASHRAE information. There is absolutely no selling of equipment or services allowed during these sessions. This is usually a 30 to 45-minute virtual conversation.

Special Webinar on Air-Cleaning

This summer, we provided a number of seminars through the Detroit Chapter on topics related to COVID-19 and HVAC systems. There were sessions on domestic water system flushing, IAQ, relative humidity, and room air distribution. With all the continued interest in increasing media filter MERV levels in AHUs and RTUs, we’ve decided to offer a webinar on this topic as well. On a February date TO BE DETERMINED, the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters will be providing a special webinar on Air-Cleaning. The webinar will feature two presenters—ASHARE Distinguished Lecturer, Jim Newman, CEM, LEED-AP, OPMP, BEAP and Fred Marshall, a filtration specialist and member of the sales team at Camfil. Fred will be discussing the ASHRAE 55.2 rating test procedure, the evolution of it and ISO 16890 toward a single standard, the meaning behind ratings of MERV and MERV-A. Jim will discuss how other air-cleaning technologies (particularly UV-C, PCO and ionization) augment media filters and code implications if any of these technologies are used to reduce energy consumption by reducing outdoor air quantities. Look for an email update on this special webinar.

 

Recommendations to Help Reduce Risks for COVID-19 Transmission via HVAC Systems

The Task Force recently updated its Recommendations for HVAC & Domestic Water Systems When Re-Opening Facilities after Periods of COVID-19 Dormancy. The current version is available on the Detroit Chapter’s website. This is a great tool to use when talking with your clients about changes they may wish to make at their facilities to reduce their CVID-19 risks. It simplifies some of the highly technical information presented on the Society website and, in some cases, provides detailed steps to implement improvements. It was developed by locally, by members of the Detroit and W. Michigan ASHRAE Chapters.

 

Teaming to Educate Owners of Small Businesses and Small Buildings

Last autumn, the task force developed two partnerships to provide small business/building owners with information to help them help their HVAC systems to reduce the risk of transmitting infectious aerosols in their facilities. First, the task force partnered with SEEL to provide a seminar for DTE’s small business customers on the subjects of domestic water quality, indoor air quality, and heating system readiness. Speakers were task force members Andrew Ward, Jim Newman, and Simon Ren.

Second, the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters teamed with MI Saves and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to offer a series of seminars to businesses on HVAC system modifications and maintenance to reduce the risk of airborne transmission. Speakers were task force members Sonya Pouncy and Paul Prentice and the seminars were facilitated by Sean Egan, the state’s COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director. The four-part series addressed general modifications, ventilation, air-cleaning, humidity and maintenance. Sessions can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLX_tZ3xQm0Tnez4iEl2GjUzmIvr36wLLk

 

Looking for a Clean Slate? Look to Your Air System

By Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, LEED-AP, CMVP with John Line, ASCS

 

Well, 2021 is upon us. How are you starting off the year? If you plan to start with a clean slate, then there’s no better place to start than your building’s air system and duct work. These are the lungs, airways, and alveoli of your building. Buildings, like the human body, take in (hopefully) clean outdoor air, extract the necessary oxygen and exhaust used air laden with carbon dioxide. Between the holidays, I had an opportunity to sit down, virtually of course, with John Line, a NADCA certified air system cleaning specialist and member of the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters’ COVID-19 Task Force, to learn a little about air system cleaning.

 

Sonya:

How is air system cleaning accomplished?

John:

It starts with an inspection. Every building’s air system should be inspected regularly. The frequency depends on the type of building. Residential buildings compliant with NADCA Standard ACR-2013, are inspected every 2 years. Commercial buildings, including schools, are inspected annually. Health care buildings should also be inspected at least annually, but in my experience, most are inspected semi-annually. Grilles, registers and diffusers are inspected semi-annually.

Sonya:

The NADCA ACR sounds similar to ASHRAE Standard 180 in this regard.

John:

Yeah, they complement each other. The ACR is referenced in ASHRAE Standard 180 and vice versa. They both give minimal inspection frequencies as a standard of care, but whereas the ASHRAE standard is concerned with the nature and frequency of inspections, the NADCA standard is primarily concerned with the inspection types and detailed procedures.

Sonya:

How is the ductwork inspected?

John:

We actually use robotic rovers outfitted with digital cameras that we drive through the ductwork. That’s one of the fun aspects of the job.

If the inspection finds an accumulation of particulate matter, that the air system performance is compromised due to construction debris; contamination build-up; infestation of birds, rodents, insects or their by-products; moistures or the presence of mold growth; or that the system is the source of unacceptable odors, then an actual cleaning is in order.

Air-handler interior surfaces—the walls, flooring and ceiling, as well as fan blades and housings, dampers, etc., should be cleaned and disinfected with an EPA-approved disinfectant. But, ductwork is only cleaned. There are no EPA-approved compounds that can be used to disinfect ductwork.

Sonya:

Really? No chemicals in the ductwork. Well, in light this COVID-19 pandemic, the burning question on a lot  building operators minds is: How is the ductwork cleaned?

John:

We use source removal techniques—a hand vacuum or cloth but more typically a robotically driven brush.

 

Some compounds may be used inside duct work. These are fungistats, algaestats and bacteriotstats. They inhibit the growth of fungi, algae and bacteria that are not human health related.

But, the sanitizers, which reduce the bacterial population on inanimate surfaces and objects significantly (by at least 3 log10 reduction or 99.9%), disinfectants, which eliminate specific species of microorganisms, and antimicrobials, which destroy microorganisms have not been studied in ductwork applications and we don’t know what the impact would be on the human occupants, so there’s no EPA approval on that.

Sonya:

How clean are you able to get the ductwork?

John:

Oh, very clean. Almost like new. We’re able to clean out the debris and contaminants that can detract from air system performance.

 

Figure 1 Office area ductwork BEFORE cleaning.

Photo courtesy of John Line.

Figure 2 Office area ductwork AFTER cleaning.

Photo courtesy of John Line.

Sonya:

And, what about the components inside the air-handler? The coils, fans, dampers, etc.?

John:

There we do have EPA-approved solutions for cleaning and disinfection. They can be sprayed or fogged-on. They help fight your typical “green molds,” things like cladosporium, aspergillus and penicillium. If there is suspected stachybotrys, black mold, then we’d take a bio-tape sample and under chain-of-custody procedures have it analyzed. Various cleaning and disinfection compounds are used depending on the type of contaminant identified. There’s even one for the legionella bacteria.

Sonya:

Really? The legionella bacteria. Then what about cooling towers? Can and should these solutions be used there, too?

John:

There are specific bio-sprays designed for use with cooling towers—the basins, the fill, etc. These components would be sprayed to break up any accumulated scale, then power -washed.  There are bio-sprays to destroy both the legionella bacteria and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Sonya:

What if the system has automated chemical water treatment?

John:

This is disinfection is separate from water treatment, which is done monthly or continuously depending the facility’s needs. This cleaning and disinfection should be done annually and should be a standard part of any cooling tower maintenance program.

Sonya:

Absolutely! I can really see the inter-relatedness of our two professional societies and the importance of our collaboration. As design engineers and consultants, we’re responsible for making sure our building owning clients get system manuals that explain how their HVAC systems are to be operated and maintained. Sometimes, we stop at the tasks and frequencies, but we should consider going a step further and providing guidance, especially, where chemicals can and cannot be used. That would be particularly helpful in this time of COVID-19.

I’m so glad you joined the Joint MI ASHRAE Chapters’ COVID-19 Task Force. If our readers want more information on HVAC cleaning procedures, where can they get it?

John:

Like ASHRAE, NADCA has a position document and other guidance related to the virus. The NADCA Position Paper on Chemical Product Applications in HVAC Systems is available from the resources section our website at NADCA.com.

       

 

Re-Opening in the New Year? Don’t Forget the Domestic Water System

By Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, LEED-AP, CMVP with Ron George, CPD

 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of attention on indoor air quality and the role that HVAC systems can play in helping to reduce the risk of air-borne transmissions inside buildings.  But, building owners also need to be concerned about water-borne transmissions. Water that has been sitting unused in systems for domestic water, condenser water, pools, spas and fountains can age and the water treatment chemicals can dissipate.  When this happens, stagnant water can become contaminated and may cause disease. In addition to sediment and rust, a proliferation of bacteria, algae and other microbes can grow in the water according to Ron George, member of ASHRAE. “Flushing the building water systems before reopening is very important to the prevention of illnesses, like Legionnaire’s Disease and Pontiac Fever” says Ron, who is also a member of ASHRAE TC 3.6: Water Treatment, TC 6.6: Service Water Heating Systems and the standing project committees responsible for ASHRAE Standard 188 and Guideline 12. “The key is to flush the stagnant, bacteria laden water out of the system with a good scouring velocity of at least 3 ft/s long enough to bring fresh chlorinated water into the pipes.”

Ron, suggests that the water system flush be initiated at least 4 days before the planned reopening date. That gives the facility team time to evaluate the water quality, compare the disinfectant residual at the building entrance to the level listed in the most recent annual water quality report from the utility, and perform any disinfection and flushing that are necessary. The Michigan Plumbing Code provides disinfection criteria for new and repaired potable water systems. This same approach can be applied to reopening systems as well. In simple terms the procedure has four (4) major steps:

  1. Flush the system until dirty water does not appear at any outlet, including those for appliances like ice machines and drinking fountains.
  2. Fill the system with a chlorine solution that is allowed to stand for a period of time depending the solution concentration. For a concentration of 50 mg/L (parts per million) the residence time is 24 hours. For a concentration of 200 ppm the dwell time just 3 hours.
  3. The system is again flushed until the chlorine is purged.
  4. Steps 2 and 3 are then repeated until no contamination is present as determined by laboratory bacteriological examination.

Like most things building related, in practice, the procedure is much more detailed than this. As directed by the Plumbing Code, system design engineers may refer to procedures described in either AWWA Standard C651: Disinfecting Water Mains or AWWA Standard C652: Disinfection of Water Storage Facilities for their building project specifications. But, little exits in the way of standard detailed instructions for disinfecting the building interior plumbing systems.  “Since there was no standard step-by-step procedure specifically for flushing building water systems,” says Ron, “I developed one.” Ron’s recommended flushing procedure and accompanying forms are available at no cost on the COVID-19 Task Force section of the Detroit Chapter’s website. The procedure addresses all fixtures—sinks, showers, toilets, etc.—as well as appliances like drinking fountains and ice machines, and of course, water heaters. When flushing, one thing you want to be sure to pay special attention to is dead legs, those lengths of piping that have low or infrequent flow. When air gets trapped in high points of dead-legs, pressure drops associated with water flowing in mains can cause fluid to surge in and out of the dead-legs, dosing the main with bacteria.  “If it’s possible,” Ron suggests that “all dead legs be retrofit with branch valves for isolation and a hose valve drain at their lowest point for draining and flushing.”

For Ron’s complete flushing procedure and other information on preparing water systems for re-opening, visit the Detroit Chapter’s website.

 

Back to top