tap water being poured into glass


Returning to vacant properties – check your drinking water 

19 Nov 2021

If you are returning to a property that has been vacant for some time, we recommend that the internal plumbing is checked by a licensed plumber and pipes are flushed if needed. 

Due to measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), many properties have been closed or had lower than usual occupancy for months at a time. When this happens, water quality can be affected. 

The water we supply to buildings is safe and of high quality and when used regularly it is continually refreshed. However, when a building isn’t occupied, the quality of the water in the internal pipes can be affected. Water sitting in internal pipes can become stagnant. This can cause changes in the taste, colour and odour of the water and also increase the risk of harmful pathogens such as Legionella and the build-up of corrosion in the pipes. 

Greater Western Water is committed to providing high quality, safe drinking water to all of our customers in line with our obligations under the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 (Vic), Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2015 (Vic) and the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. 

This information is provided so that you can get the advice you need to ensure that the water in your property is safe to use.

I live in an apartment complex and I’m concerned about the water quality
If you are concerned about the water quality in your apartment, check with building management. They can arrange  an internal inspection of the pipes and a flush of the system, if needed. 

I am moving to a new rental property
If the property has been vacant for some time, ask the property manager if the internal pipework has been checked and if the hot and cold water systems have been flushed. 

I am returning to a building that has been vacant
We recommend you speak to the building manager or a plumber to provide advice, inspect the internal plumbing, and conduct hot and cold water flushing if needed. 
Can I do the internal flushing myself?

To ensure your health and safety, we recommend that you contact a licensed plumber to do the flushing.

I’m a building manager, what do I need to do?
As the building manager, you may be responsible for arranging a check of the internal plumbing system and flushing of the system. 

For more information, see:

Consumer Affairs Victoria, call 1300 55 81 81 or visit consumer.vic.gov.au.

Victorian Building Authority, call 1300 815 127 or visit vba.vic.gov.au

Department of Health advice on cooling tower system management after COVID-19: https://www.health.vic.gov.au/water/cooling-tower-system-management-during-covid-19-response

The pipes have been flushed and checked by a plumber but I still have poor water quality
If your water quality hasn’t improved, call us on 13 44 99.