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Well Water Woes: Protecting Your Well Water after a Flood

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Floods can create real problems with both bored and driven drilled wells. After a flood, it can be difficult for owners to disinfect these wells. First, you must inspect the condition of the well before proceeding with a treatment plan. Furthermore, you should always have a test kit to periodically check the quality of the well water regardless of whether there has been a flood.

If you believe the water in your well is contaminated (or if you have any reason to suspect it is), you should only drink stored or bottled water until you are sure it is not contaminated anymore. While you can boil water to kill bacteria, boiling the water will not do any good if the water is contaminated with chemicals. You should also limit the number of baths you take if the water has not been treated. Before disinfecting the water, there are a few items you will need to collect.

Necessary Materials for Disinfecting Your Well Water

  • Non-scented liquid bleach (one gallon)
  • A funnel
  • Eye protection/glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old clothes

The Disinfection Process

Fortunately, the disinfection process of well water is a simple six-step process.

Step 1: If the water is cloudy or muddy, attach a hose to an outside spigot and run water until the water is clear of sediments.

Step 2: Use the funnel (if needed) and pour the gallon of bleach into the well casing.

Step 3: Turn the outside hose on and run water into the well until you smell chlorine. Then, turn the hose off.

Step 4: Continue by turning on all of the cold water faucets both inside and outside and leave them running until you smell chlorine. If you have a water treatment system, bypass it before you turn on any of the indoor spigots.

Step 5: You will want to not use any of the faucets in your home for the rest of the day (until 24 hours have past) to give the chlorine time to eat the contamination. Do not drink, cook, or bathe with the water while it is high in chlorine.

Step 6: After waiting 24 hours, you can go outside and run water with the hose until you do not detect chlorine in the water anymore. Make sure you are spraying the water in an area where there are no lakes, plants, streams, or septic tanks.

Finally, the water is safe and ready to use! If you are still concerned, just use a testing kit to make sure the water is clean and free of chlorine as well as other contaminants. Contaminated water may be the largest problem you deal with after a flood. For extra protection, you should safeguard your family and have the water tested by professional water system maintenance workers to make sure it is safe to use.