Water can dissolve lead and copper from pipes and plumbing fittings when it sits in pipes for extended times. To protect students and staff from higher concentrations of copper and lead, school staff are advised to flush their drinking water outlets just before the start of each school term or after extended periods of closure.

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

Flushing of internal plumbing within schools 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 school’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 schools 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 10 seconds to remove water that has been sitting in the taps and bubbler valves.

Primary school staff are also encouraged to teach children the importance of flushing drinking water taps and fountains for a short period (10 seconds) before consuming any water.

This advice is provided to all schools in NSW 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