Protecting Your Ground Water Supply [From Contamination]
This EPA text describes types of activities in your area that can create threats to your water supply. It also describes problems to look for and offers maintenance suggestions. Sources for more information and help are also listed.
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[Editing for clarity by DF are marked by brackets or italics] Initial Source: EPA 816-K-02-003 January 2002. Quoting the EPA: If your family gets drinking water from your own well, do you know if your water is safe to drink? What health risks could you and your family face? Where can you go for help or advice? This pamphlet helps answer these questions.
Hire a certified well driller for any new well construction or modification
Slope well area so surface runoff drains away
When closing a well:
Do not cut off the well casing below the land surface
Hire a certified well contractor to fill or seal the well
Preventing [Well Water Contamination] Problems
Install a locking well cap or sanitary seal to prevent unauthorized use of, or entry into, the well
Do not mix or use pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, degreasers, fuels, and other pollutants near the well
Never dispose of wastes in dry wells or in abandoned wells
Pump and inspect septic systems as often as recommended by your local health department
Never dispose of hazardous materials in a septic system
Take care in working or mowing around your well
Maintaining Your Well
Each month check visible parts of your system for problems such as:
Cracking or corrosion,
Broken or missing well cap,
Settling and cracking of surface seals
Have the well tested once a year for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and other contaminants
Keep accurate records in a safe place, including:
Construction contract or report
Maintenance records, such as disinfection or sediment removal
Any use of chemicals in the well
Water testing results
After A Flood - Well Water Contamination Safety Warnings & Health Advisories from the U.S. EPA
Watch out: Avoid fatal electrical shock hazards: stay away from the well pump, electrical controls, wiring, etc. while the building is flooded or is still wet, in order to to avoid electric shock.
Do not try to turn on the pump nor other well or water treatmenbt equipment before the electrical components have been dried and inspected. Keep in mind that flood-bourned mud and debris may have both contaminated the water well and may have clogged or damaged the pump - so just turning on the pump risks damagign it.
Turn on the well pump & controls once they are safe, dry, restored. Get assistance from a well or pump contractor to clean and turn on the pump. In addition to the need to restore the water pump, wiring, and pressure controls to safe operation, if the well was open to groundwaters it may have become loaded with mud and silt, even sewage-contaminants. If that happened the well will need to be cleaned before it can be restored to use.
Flush out the flooded well: After the pump is turned back on, run water from the well until the well water runs clear to rid the well of flood water. If the well casing remained sealed during flooding, restoring the well to service will still involve shocking the well and water piping system and may require water testing for contaminants.
Watch out: If the well water does not run clear, get advice from the county or state health department or extension service or from your local well driller and water treatment company.
Watch out: in some cases, just clearing the well casing and piping themselves of floodwaters may not be enough. In periods immediately after area flooding local groundwaters and some aquifers may themselves be contaminated.
If authorities in your area confirm that this is the case, you may need to test the well water to see if it is safe to use, or a water treatment system (such as a chlorinator) may be needed. See
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