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Photograph of  a loose, unsanitary well plumbing system exposed to surface water runoffr  © DJ Friedman Flooded Well Pollution
How to Protect Groundwater from Surface Pollutants &
How to Restore a well to service after area flooding

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How to protect a drinking water well from common sources of ground water / well water contaminants.



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Flooded Well Contamination

Well depths and types (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesOur edited, re-ordered and expanded version of original EPA text given here 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.

[Click to enlarge any image]

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.

The sketch at left showing how deep or shallow wells tap aquifers is provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

Flooded Well Action Priorities

Watch out: don't drink from flooded wells: in areas of widespread flooding such as the Houston Texas area flooding during hurricane Harvey in 2017, water from both public and private water wells that were submerged by or even close to areas covered by floodwaters is not safe to drink.

During flooding both surface water and groundwater become contaminated with a wide range of pollutants including sewage, an immediate health hazard, and other contaminants such as lead, pesticides, fertilizers, and depending on the well location, petroleum products such as carcinogenic benzene.

If you need drinking water right now, see DRINKING WATER EMERGENCY SOURCES - where to find emergency drinking water after a flood or other disaster.

In an emergency, disinfecting water by boiling or other disinfection methods

Watch out: simply shocking your well (WELL CHLORINATION SHOCKING PROCEDURE) is not enough to give safe drinking water after area flooding, even if you include disinfection of the well and building piping, water tank, and water heater tank.

That's because it's likely that the groundwater that enters your well has been contaminated by the recent floodwaters.

You will need to confirm that the well water is safe to drink at two points:

  1. When local authorities say that community wells and water delivery systems have been sanitized and that the community water is safe to drink.

    You may still need to sanitize the water piping in your building and you will need to drain and sanitize any water holding tanks like the water pressure tank and water heater tank.
  2. When your own local or private well has been sanitized and then after waiting no less than 24 hours, (safer is to wait 2-4 days) the water supply has been re-tested to confirm that polluted water is not enteriong your well.

    The bare minimum water potability test to be performed is a bacteria test or coliform test. That will identify the most-common well contaminant from sewage or from flooded septic systems. That test will also tell us if surface water or sewage-contaminated groundwater is entering the water well.

    Watch out: bacteria testing will not guarantee that other contaminants such as benzene, pesticides, fertilizers, lead, or other pollutants are out of your water supply. Your local water testing department and local health officials will have additional advice on what other contaminants should be included in private well-water testing.

    See BACTERIA TEST GUIDE and see WATER QUALITY TEST CHOICES & WATER TEST FEES

After A Flood - Well Water Contamination Safety Warnings & Health Advisories from the U.S. EPA

When Building, Modifying Or Closing A Well

Preventing [Well Water Contamination] Problems

Maintaining Your Well

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Continue reading at 1. How To FIND WELL CONTAMINATION PROBLEMS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS - home

Or see WELL CLEANING PROCEDURES

Or see WELL CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE

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FLOOD CONTAMINATED WELL RESTORE & PROTECT at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to WATER SUPPLY, PUMPS TANKS WELLS

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