Water Fountain

Purdue University’s New Water Systems Course Designed to Aid Safe Building Reopening During and After a Pandemic

Dec 04, 2020 | Emily D'Angelo

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many buildings shut their doors for months, leaving their water systems idle. Standing water creates health concerns, including the buildup of heavy metals like copper and lead, as well as disease-causing organisms, such as Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaire’s Disease. For these buildings to reopen safely, building owners, managers, and health officials need to ensure building water systems are cleaned properly. This requires an understanding of water systems, which may be complex and can vary greatly between buildings.

Professor Andrew Whelton and assistant professor Caitlin Proctor of Purdue University, who are doing cutting-edge research in building water safety, saw a need to share expertise on building water systems with those who are responsible for the safe reopening of buildings. To meet this need, they developed an online short course designed to give health officials and building managers the answers and information they need quickly. “[Public health officials and building managers] are being asked to carry their communities on their back, and this resource will be immediately useful to them now and in the future,” Dr. Whelton says.

“[Public health officials and building managers] are being asked to carry their communities on their back, and this resource will be immediately useful to them now and in the future.”

– Professor Andrew Whelton, Purdue University

The course covers topics such as the components of building water systems, water changes when buildings are idle, avenues of exposure to contaminants from water systems in buildings, flushing plans, and more. Modules need not be taken sequentially, allowing users to navigate the content at their own leisure. Question-and-answer sessions with Whelton and Proctor will also be made available upon request, and registrants will have access to the course content for one year and can obtain a certificate of completion.

Dr. Whelton and Dr. Proctor partnered with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) to offer this course at a discount for local health departments. The course, which is regularly priced at $445, is being offered at a discounted price of $395 when the discount code ‘NACCHO’ is used upon checkout. Register for the course today!


About Emily D’Angelo

Program Analyst

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