Water can dissolve copper and sometimes lead from pipes and plumbing fittings when it sits in pipes for extended times. To protect children and staff from copper and lead, schools are advised to flush their drinking water outlets just before opening after extended periods of closure (e.g. over long holidays).
Flushing of internal plumbing in schools can be achieved with three simple steps:
- Identify options to collect and reuse flushed water, e.g. plant watering.
- Identify the taps or bubblers furthest from the water meter. Open the taps to allow water from the main pipe to flush the school’s pipes. Let the taps run for 2 to 3 minutes (longer flushing times may be needed in larger schools) to be sure that the pipes have been flushed. In larger schools several taps may need to be flushed to empty each line of pipe.
- Flush each drinking water outlet for about 30 seconds to remove water that has been sitting in the taps and bubbler valves.
Schools with rainwater tanks as the source of drinking water should follow the flushing advice in the drinking water quality assurance plan.
This advice is provided as a precaution.
You can call 1300 066 055 to talk to your local Public Health Unit.