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Decontaminating Your Drinking Water After A Flood

Jul 19, 2008
Flooding is an on-going tragedy in the mid-west these days. The cities along the Mississippi River in the states of Missouri and Iowa have been especially hard hit by the torrential rains and resulting floods. There have been reports of rushing water as high as ten feet inundating some areas. Many people in these areas get their drinking water from wells on their property. With floodwaters inundating everything in their wake, many of the drinking wells have been contaminated. There are some things that can be done to disinfect your drinking water well after this kind of contamination.

The first step to disinfect your drinking water well is to turn the electricity to your pump off at the circuit breaker. Wear rubber gloves and rubber soled shoes to protect you from electrical shock. Take off the well cap and check wiring and connections for any damage. After fixing any problems with the wiring, you can begin the disinfecting process.

Bleach can be used as a disinfectant to treat contaminated water in a drinking well. Make sure to wear a mask and rubber gloves when handling bleach. Calculate the volume of water that is standing in the well. Close the gate valves to keep bleach away from water softener and other treatment equipment. This equipment should be disinfected separately because chlorinated products such as bleach can damage them. The bleach per water ratio should be between 3/4 of a quart of bleach per 100 gallons of water to 2 quarts of bleach per 100 gallons of water. Pour the correct amount of bleach down the well casing into the well.

The next step to disinfect the drinking well is to take a hose from an outside spigot and turn it on. Run the hose in the well casing into the well and keep it running until the smell of chlorine is noticeable in the water coming out of the hose. Turn off the hose and go into the house. Turn on all the cold-water faucets in the house and those outside. Run the water through these faucets until the smell of chlorine is distinct in the water coming out of each faucet, then turn off the faucets. Wait approximately 24 hours before you turn any of the faucets on again. When the time is up take a hose connected to an outside spigot away from the area around the house or well and let it run until the smell of chlorine is no longer noticeable. The well and water system should now be decontaminated and ready to be used.

It is important to have the water tested for bacteria a week or so after this disinfecting process takes place to make sure the water is still safe. This should be done by a licensed and certified laboratory. This method of decontaminating only takes out the bacteria in the water.

Sometimes, pesticides and other chemical contaminants can reach the well water after flooding. If there is any question as to whether this has occurred to your well, call a professional to do the job of decontaminating the well water. They will have the knowledge and equipment necessary to do the job correctly.
About the Author
Richard Barthallo's life experiences has made him a legend with Orlando Water Damage Restorations. He has assisted and advised on many Orlando Water damage situations.
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