COVID-19 Resources

IAPMO is committed to safety; as we protect the health of the nation through plumbing, we also act to protect our members and employees. This website contains links to important documents directly supporting the plumbing and mechanical industry.

On March 19, President Trump and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Coronavirus Guidance for America identifying plumbers and other tradespeople as “essential critical infrastructure workers” as our nation responds to the threat of COVID-19.

“Our industry has known for many decades that its contribution to society is essential to global health,” said IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney. “This new guidance, to state and local officials from the White House, validates that our industry is vital to the United States. Our highly skilled plumbers have been deemed essential to the nation’s ability to function and recognized as people on whom we can all depend in normal times or a global crisis.”

Please click on the links for information and check back periodically for updates.

Guidelines to Protect Workers Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Other Potential Infectious Materials (OPIM) in Plumbing and HVAC Systems
The disease is spread by close person-to-person contact. It usually occurs from a cough, sneeze, or when someone exhales. This releases infected droplets that can get into another’s mouth, nose, or lungs. Most of these droplets fall onto nearby surfaces and objects like desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. It is unclear how long a virus can remain contagious when exposed on a surface. COVID-19 spreads in a way like the flu.
(Courtesy of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada with input from ASSE International & Scott Hamilton)

 

Guidance for Building Water Systems
Ensure the safety of your building water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown
Stagnant, or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria. When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease to the Legionella growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C). Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.

 

ASHRAE Position Document on Airborne Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases spread by several different routes.Tuberculosis and in some cases influenza, the common cold, and other diseases spread by the airborne route. The spread can be accelerated or controlled by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, for which ASHRAE is the global leader and foremost source of technical and educational information. ©ASHRAE

More ASHRAE Technical Resources

 

 

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.
This guidance is intended for planning purposes. Employers and workers should use this planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. Additional guidance may be needed as COVID-19 outbreak conditions change, including as new information about the virus, its transmission, and impacts, becomes available.

 

 

 

WHO, with UNICEF and International Federation of the Red Cross, recommends Member States provide access to hand hygiene in public places to stop the spread of COVID-19
Hand hygiene is extremely important to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It also interrupts transmission of other viruses and bacteria causing common colds, flu and pneumonia, thus reducing the general burden of disease. The WHO DG announced yesterday “…. we recommend handwashing and physical distancing, but we also recognize this can be a practical challenge for those who lack access to clean water, or who live in cramped conditions. Together with Unicef and the International Federation of the Red Cross, we’ve published new guidance for improving access to handwashing. The guidance recommends that countries set up handwashing stations at the entrance to public buildings, offices, bus stops and train stations.”

Read the full recommendations here and the DG's media briefing here.

Further resources and technical guidance for WASH and COVID-19: WHO and UNICEF

COVID-19 Interim Guidance on NYC Cooling Tower Regulations
For building owners, building management, cooling tower industry, and water treatment operators and consultants during the COVID-19 pandemic
Under NYS Executive Order 202.6, service providers for cooling tower systems that support “Essential Infrastructure” are EXEMPT from work staffing reduction requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Caution Recommended When Using Public Bathrooms
A recent study from China has indicated that COVID-19 has been found in the feces of some infected people. The study involved 73 patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19 in early February and had their feces tested for the presence of the 2019-nCoV virus. Feces from 39 of the patients tested positive for the virus even after swabs from the nose and throat of those patients tested negative. The results raise concerns that the virus can also be spread through the digestive tract.



IAPMO's Letter to Congress
As America confronts COVID-19, it is critical that any fiscal and economic response to help businesses survive the crisis match the scale and intensity of the steps being taken to end the pandemic. Efforts to slow the spread of the disease are unprecedented, as is the speed and severity of the economic collapse they have precipitated. The operations of millions of businesses are threatened, together with the jobs of the millions of workers they employ.

 




Understanding Coronavirus Exposure for Plumbing Professionals

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) started monitoring the outbreak of a new coronavirus, which ultimately was named COVID-19. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China. This paper is intended to provide practical guidance for plumbing professionals who work on sanitary waste and sewer systems on how to protect themselves, their loved ones and their coworkers during the current pandemic.

 

 

IAPMO Letter to Nation’s Governors Association
As a trade association, we believe it vital to offer our support and assistance during this time of national crisis with the novel coronavirus (or COVID-19). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has listed plumbers and water/wastewater sectors as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.  These sectors are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.



 

State Legislative Map - COVID-19 Response
The GovPredict team has created a state legislative map to help categorize and visualize the 50 states' responses. You can see which states are introducing relief bills and the topics that these bills address, and quickly access the bills. 

 



Federal Government Response:  Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Updated 3-28-2020
In a DHS memorandum issued by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) Director Christopher C. Krebs, CISA announced development of an initial list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers “to help state and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”

The list identifies those professions deemed essential to continued critical infrastructure viability and advises such workers to continue normal operations, appropriately modified to account for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) workforce and customer protection guidance.

 


Coronavirus in Plumbing Systems: How did the outbreak Occur in Hong Kong and is there a risk in North America?

Health officials in Hong Kong have determined that plumbing systems in certain high-rise buildings are implicated in recent cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Based on the limited information available, it’s clear that transmission paths that would allow for the virus to spread between individual apartment units in at least one high-rise building have been identified. In order to understand how this has happened, it’s important to have some very basic knowledge of how wastewater systems work in high-rise buildings and to also look back at the SARS outbreak of 2003; the parallels are striking. In fact, the SARS virus is also a strain of coronavirus, so it’s not surprising that COVID-19 has been identified as having the potential to spread through plumbing systems.

 

 

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