Water can dissolve lead and copper from pipes and plumbing fittings when it sits in pipes for extended times. To protect children and staff from higher concentrations of copper and lead, centres are advised to flush their drinking water outlets just before opening after extended periods of closure.

With the drought getting worse, water restrictions are in place in many parts of NSW. Please reuse flushed water where practical.

Flushing of internal plumbing within centres can be achieved with three simple steps;

  1. Identify options for collection and reuse of flushed water, e.g. plant watering.
  2. Identify the taps or bubblers furthest from the water meter. Open the taps to allow water from the main to flush the centre’s pipes. Let the taps run for at least 2 minutes. Flushing for a longer period of time (up to 5 minutes) or selecting outlets at a number of locations may be required in centres with larger water distribution systems in order to draw fresh water from the incoming water supply. If a distribution system includes a storage tank then flushing times should be set to draw water from the tank through to the outlet being flushed. 
  3. Flush each drinking water outlet for about 10 seconds to remove water that has been sitting in the taps and bubbler valves.

Use drinking water from the cold tap after flushing has been carried out to prepare formula and other powdered drinks.

This advice is provided to early childcare centres as a precaution.

More information

You can call 1300 066 055 to talk to your local Public Health Unit.

Current as at: Wednesday 22 December 2021
Contact page owner: Environmental Health