Resuming Use of Water Fountains: COVID-19
Water fountains are an important resource in public spaces, especially during summer when heat and dehydration can be the most dangerous. The risk of getting COVID-19 from touching a solid surface (like a water fountain button) is low, and COVID-19 has not been found in drinking water. Therefore, water fountains and bottle fillers can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safety tips for reactivating fountains
Shutting off water fountains or other fixtures for long periods of time can increase the risk of water quality problems, including growth of dangerous bacteria like Legionella. Buildings and fixtures that have low use or are in unoccupied spaces should be reactivated with care.
For guidance on how to safely reopen water fountains and fixtures, refer to:
- Ensuring Water Quality in Building Premise Plumbing (PDF)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Information on Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use
Daily cleaning to prevent disease
To further reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, MDH recommends that programs establish a daily schedule for cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, especially in shared or public spaces. This may include water fountains, doorknobs, light switches, sink handles, restrooms, countertops, desks, keyboards, etc.
More information on cleaning and disinfection:
- CDC: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- EPA: About List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For more information about COVID-19 and surfaces, refer to CDC: How COVID-19 Spreads.
Water helps prevent heat-related illness
Access to drinking water provides more benefit than risk by preventing dehydration, heat-related illnesses, and physical distress during activities and at times of extreme heat.
Resources on extreme heat:
- Minnesota Public Health Data Access: Heat-related Illness
- Extreme Heat Events
- CDC: Natural Disasters and Severe Weather: Extreme Heat
- National Integrated Heat Health Information System: Heat Forecasts
- Videos and graphics: Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Heat Illness Prevention Campaign