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Residents using private wells that have been flooded by the recent heavy rains should take precautions against waterborne illnesses by boiling well water for two minutes and then straining it before consumption, Environmental Health District Director, Jerome Deal, warns.
He emphasized that the recommendations are only for private wells that were underwater. "If flood water didn't cover your well, then you need not take these precautions," Jerome Deal said.
"If your private well flooded, please limit consumption to bottled water or boil well water for two minutes at a rolling boil and strain it before using it to brush your teeth, prepare food or drinks. However, the water need not be boiled for other domestic activities, such as washing laundry or bathing, he said."
Disinfection of flooded private wells cannot begin until water covering the affected wells recedes.
Materials needed for emergency disinfection of flooded wells
One gallon of non-scented household liquid bleach
Ten Steps to Disinfect Flooded Private Wells
Step 1 -If your water is muddy or cloudy, run the water from an outside spigot with a hose attached until the water becomes clear and free of sediments.
Step 2 - Determine what type of well you have and how to pour the bleach into the well. Some wells have a sanitary seal with either an air vent or a plug that can be removed. If it is a bored or dug well, the entire cover can be lifted off to provide a space for pouring the bleach into the well.
Step 3 - Take the gallon of bleach and funnel (if needed) and carefully pour the bleach down into the well casing.
Step 4 - After the bleach has been added, run water from an outside hose into the well casing until you smell chlorine coming from the hose. Then turn off the outside hose.
Step 5 - Turn on all cold water faucets, inside and outside of house, until the chlorine odor is detected in each faucet, then shut them all off. If you have a water treatment system, switch it to bypass before turning on the indoor faucets.
Step 6- Wait six to 24 hours before turning the faucets back on. It is important not to drink, cook, bathe or wash with this water during the time period – it contains high amounts of chlorine.
Step 7 - Once the waiting period is up, turn on an outside spigot with hose attached and run the water into a safe area where it will not disturb plants, lakes, streams or septic tanks. Run the water until there is no longer a chlorine odor. Turn the water off.
Step 8 - The system should now be disinfected, and you can now use the water.
Step 9 - If you are not sure about performing the disinfection procedure, contact a licensed, professional well installer for assistance.
Step 10 -Contact your county health department for water testing at least five days after disinfection.