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Steps to take before using flooded water wells

In the event of water well flooding due to Hurricane Sandy, owners of household wells should take precautions to make sure their water is safe and the well is in good operating condition, according to the National Ground Water Association.

When the well casing — the vertical pipe that extends above the ground’s surface — is topped by floodwater, it is assumed the well has been flooded. An obvious concern is that floodwater loaded with bacteria, chemicals, or other pollutants may have gotten into the well.

A less obvious concern is electrical shock if a nonsubmersible pump, or any part of the well electrical system, is flooded.

After such flooding:
Stay away from the well pump while it is flooded to avoid electrical shock
Do not drink the water from the well or use it for washing to avoid becoming sick
It is best to get help from a qualified water well contractor or pump installer to:
Clean and turn on the pump
Flush the well
Disinfect the well
Perform any other necessary maintenance.

Water wells are specialized systems that require knowledge and expertise to repair, clean, and disinfect. If your well has been flooded, use bottled water until a qualified water well system contractor can check out your well system. You also can boil water to kill any bacteria, but boiling water may not remove other types of contamination that entered your well due to flooding.

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