As Arkansas enters phase one of its reopening plan, customers and workers across the state will be returning to facilities that have experienced reduced water use in recent weeks.

It’s critical that building operators take steps to address potential chemical and microbial health risks that can develop in water systems that have been idle, according to a May 5 news release from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The health department recommends these actions:

• Thoroughly flush the building’s plumbing system before fully reopening. Begin at the point of entry and flush outwards through the entire building, including all fixtures and showerheads. Check cold water supply for chlorine to indicate fresh water has entered the system.

• Consider draining storage tanks like water heaters and softeners, and check for sediment buildup.

• Check aerators, filters, showerheads and other equipment for particles, and clean as necessary.

• Clean ice machines, and dispose of three batches of ice after flushing the system.

Building operators can submit samples to the Department of Health to verify the bacteriological safety of the water supply. Details on the process and cost for that service are available at