Building Water Essentials: Certificate Program

Buildings, never designed to sit idle for long periods, were no more prepared for Covid-19 than people. Extreme water stagnation from shutdowns due to the virus can cause excessive amounts of biological pathogens and heavy metals, including lead and copper, to collect in building water systems. Building Water Essentials is a self-paced online course that provides actionable knowledge needed to address the effects from the pandemic and other situations, such as natural disasters like floods and fires, that can degrade building water quality.  

Developed by Purdue University researchers who are recognized experts in the field, and consulted internationally, the Building Water Essentials course provides a baseline understanding of how building water systems are designed, how they operate and when problems arise, and how those problems can be resolved – information that is not readily available for public health officials (and others dealing with the issues) to access in a single package anywhere else. Topics include system components, codes, standards, water quality, flow, and the potential health risks, including water quality investigations and remediation.

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Building Water Essentials Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the chemical and microbiological contaminants common to building water systems for stagnant and flowing water.
  2. Explain the factors that control contaminant accumulation in building water systems.
  3. Recognize water testing methods and limitations.
  4. Identify remediation practices for removing contaminated water from the systems.
  5. Recognize how to create and test building water system flushing plans.
  6. Develop strategies to avoid and remediate water quality problems, using real-building examples, as-built drawings, and other resources.
  7. Recognize where to find additional resources.

This course is a series of self-paced learning modules that will take approximately 10 hours to complete and you will have access for up to one year. Each module will focus on a different building water system topic and there are live Q&A sessions built in throughout the course. The modules do not have to be taken concurrently, allowing users to hone in on a topic of interest as needed.

Understanding Water Quality Issues -- Who Can Benefit:

  • Public Health Department employees in any role
  • Federal, state and local water system and water quality managers and staffs
  • Emergency Preparedness personnel
  • Facilities managers and technicians, as well as building owners
  • Plumbing and water utility engineers
  • Scientists

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For further information, please email