Private well owners urged to check drinking water due to possible flooding contamination

By Molly Thekan, originally posted on October 18, 2016


MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) – According to Patrick Jacuzzo, Environmental Health Director for the Marquette County Health Department, “Heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water. If you live in an area that was recently or is currently flooding, your private well may be in danger of contamination from pollutants carried in floodwaters.”

Well owners who observe flooding or changes in their water should assume their wells are contaminated and take the following steps:
-Stop drinking the water and find an alternate source of safe water to drink.
-Make sure your well is properly disinfected.
-Before resuming consumption of the water, sample the well after pumping and disinfection to assure the water is safe.

Flood waters and runoff contain bacteria and other contaminants that can affect water supplies and cause water-borne illness. Wells located in pits, basements, and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination. Even without obvious signs of flooding, a well can become contaminated.

Per Jacuzzo, “Disinfection and sampling are best done by a licensed well driller or pump installer. Any water supply system that has been submerged by flood waters should be pumped out once the floodwater recedes, then thoroughly disinfected and tested to determine that the water is safe.”

Private well owners are encouraged to test their wells annually for bacteria and nitrates, to check for problems, and to ensure the water is safe to drink. Water sampling bottles are available at the Marquette County Health Department at 184 US 41 East, Negaunee, Mich. Sampling bottles can also be obtained from your local drinking water laboratories, the Marquette Water Filtration Plant, and the Ishpeming Area Waste Water Treatment Plate.

For individuals who receive their drinking water from a public water supply, these systems are designed and operated to keep our contaminants. If you have concerns about the safety of your community’s drinking water, contact your public water supplier.

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