Floodwaters can Contaminate Private Wells

Friday, April 25, 2008 - 10:29am

Homeowners with Flooded Wells Should Take Precautions and Test Water

NEWS RELEASE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH FOR MADISON & DANE COUNTY

Madison, WI - April 25, 2008- With reports of the threats of widespread flooding, it is important for people who rely on a private well for drinking water to be extra vigilant about the quality of that water. If there has been any flooding around the well, there is a high risk that your water supply will be contaminated. Water that is cloudy colored or bad smelling is a sure sign of contamination and should not be used for drinking, rinsing food or dishes, making juice, baby food or ice cubes. Even if water from a flooded well looks clear, the safest approach is to assume it has been contaminated.

In these conditions, you should rely on bottled water, or water from a known safe source. If you must use water from the well, it should be boiled for one minute at a rolling boil. Testing your well water is something that should be done routinely every year. In flood conditions you should have your water tested for bacteria and other contaminants as soon as possible.

It is very important that the water from a flooded well be tested. Testing for bacteria is available to householders in Dane County with flooded wells though the Madison Dane County Public Health Laboratory at (608) 243-0357 (www.publichealthmdc.com).

Madison Dane County Public Health Laboratory also provides testing for chemical contaminants from farm and industrial run off when indicated. Free consultation on what tests are needed, interpretation of test results is included along with fees for these additional tests. (Fees range from $20-$25) For information on making arrangements for testing at the MDC Public Health Lab, send an e-mail to health@cityofmadison.com or call 608-243-0357 or 608-829-1164 on weekends.
If you notice a change in water quality, or anytime there's been flooding near your well, have your well tested for bacteria contamination. If contamination is found, you must disinfect your well/water supply.
Wells that test positive for bacterial contamination must be disinfected. For information on how to properly disinfect your well, go to: http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/health/InjuryPrevention/Disasterhealthsafety/W...

REMEMBER:
• Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water
• Used boiled water or disinfected water if you suspect that your water supply has been contaminated
• Do not allow children to play in flood waters - ditches, gutters, etc
Such waters may be contaminated with sewage and pesticides.
These waters may contain debris that can injure children
• Basement areas exposed to sewage must be disinfected with a chlorine bleach solution (half cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water).
Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia --- Toxic fumes may result!

-END-

Contacts: 
  • Jeff Golden, 243-0302