Flood water can contaminate private wells

By Lincoln Journal Star
6 June 2014

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Private drinking-water wells may have been inundated with storm water runoff during Tuesday night’s storm, possibly contaminating it. 

Sharon Skipton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension water quality educator, said pollutants in flood or surface run-off can contaminate wells even if the surrounding area is not flooded. Wells at greatest risk of contamination from flood water or surface water runoff include these, she said in a news release:

 * Wells in well pits.

* Dug wells or any thatdo not have a watertight casing, watertight caps or grout seals in the annular spaces. 

* Wells that were submerged by flood or surface water runoff. 

People who think their drinking water wells were affected should not use the water for cooking, drinking or brushing teeth until laboratory analysis confirms it is safe, Skipton said.

Contact a licensed well contractor for an inspection and necessary cleaning and disinfecting. 

"If flood water came close to your well (100 feet or less) but did not reach the well, have your water tested as a precaution," she said. 

For more information, visit flood.unl.edu.