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Recent Flooding Means You Should Pay Attention to Your Well Water

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Whether you live near the ocean, a lake, a river, or ANY body of water that rises and falls causing flooding over your property, health officials and water quality professionals all agree that well owners should take a few minutes to consider the potential hazards that may exist with drinking water after flooding events have taken place.

Flooding, whether extensive or localized, may compromise water quality in drinking water wells.

What if my well never got submerged by flood waters?  Even though your well may not have undergone severe flooding itself, you should not assume that it will provide safe, clean drinking water.  When floods occur, contaminated surface water may indirectly find its way into the aquifer (underground water source) from which your well draws its water.

Under normal circumstances, surface water creeps slowly downward through the ground and as it does so it undergoes a sort of natural filtering by the elements it passes through.  When floods occur, that filtration process may get bypassed altogether, as in cases where a damaged wellhead tapping into the aquifer allows contaminated surface water to shoot rapidly downward into aquifer by way of a compromised water well.

After flood waters recede, check your water supply to see if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Has the quality of your water changed (odor, color or taste)?
  • Did the flood waters come close to your water source?
  • Did your well actually get flooded?

If your particular situation meets any of the above criteria and you suspect that the quality of your drinking water may have gotten compromised, you should seriously consider taking the following steps:

  • Immediately stop using the well water for human consumption and use only bottled or boiled water for things like drinking, cooking, and washing.
  • At the very least have your well tested for coliform bacteria and should the test come back positive, definitely have your well disinfected.  Then test, again, to make certain the disinfection process worked.

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