After flooding, well owners should take actions to:
- make their water supplies safe for consumption; and
- protect the groundwater resource used as a source of drinking water.
When a water supply well has been affected by flood waters, the water within a well may be contaminated with waterborne pathogens (germs) that can cause serious illness in humans and pets. The water in the well can also be contaminated by debris, fuel oil or other chemical products released during the flood.
During flooding, the ground around the well may also erode, possibly creating unsafe conditions or a pathway for surface water and contaminants to enter the well. In other cases, the electrical wires attached to the pump in a well may be damaged risking electrocution. Therefore, well owners should exercise extreme caution approaching their wells, especially older, large diameter dug wells after a flood.
If a well owner believes that the well has been contaminated by flood water, the well owner should discontinue using the water in the well for drinking and cooking purposes and use potable water from another source.