Although the severe weather in the Midwest has caused deaths and destruction of property, the storms have brought some relief to farmers who have been suffering through a record drought.
This water is a great benefit to farmers and the area water tables, but is also causing severe flooding in many rural areas. Some of those in the affected areas have seen their wells impacted by the heavy rains and in some cases covered by flood waters.
The three primary threats from a well that has been covered by flood waters are:
1. The danger of electrical shock
2. Contamination by bacteria, parasites, and viruses
3. Damage to well pump, pressure tank, pipes and electrical
What can happen if my well is covered by flood waters?
If your well is not tightly sealed or protected sediment and flood waters can enter the well and contaminate it with bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
Fast-moving flood water can move large debris such as trees and building materials, which can damage the wellhead, piping and electrical system.
Sand and other debris pouring into the well can cause pump wear and pumping problems.
Sewage from damaged septic tanks, chemicals from agricultural operations, and other contaminants can be carried by the flood water and cause the well to become contaminated.
What should I do if my well is covered by flood waters?
There is a danger of electrical shock. Rubber gloves and boots are not adequate protection from electrical shock. It is best to avoid inspecting the well until all flood waters have receded and your well and wiring system has been checked by a qualified well or pump contractor, or an electrician.
What about my well pump and pressure tank?
Well pumps and can be damaged by flood waters which often contain large amounts of sediment. The well pump and pressure tanks should be cleaned of silt and sand. Get help from a well or pump contractor who will be able to clean, repair or maintain different types of pumps.
How can I know if my water is safe to drink or not?
Do not drink water from your well if it has been covered by flood water. If your well is older than 10 years and is less than 50 feet deep, it may be impacted by contamination, even if the actual wellhead is not covered. Shallow wells and/or older wells with bad well seals can be under the influence of surface water, even if the surface water is not directly covering the top of well.
See our free guide on “What To Do If Your Well Is Covered By Flood Water” to know what steps to take to make sure your well is safe and functioning properly.
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