How to Determine If Your Water’s Quality Has Been Damaged

As tempting as it might be to take a nice shower after suffering through Hurricane Harvey, homeowners should be aware that your source of water could be compromised.

If you get your water from a well which was submerged under water for any period of time due to flooding, then you might want to wait to use water in your home.

When well water is contaminated by dirty storm water and changes color, it can cause dangerous health issues. Disease-producing microorganisms and bacteria can develop, causing cysts, or other health effects ranging from gastrointestinal issues to death.

Checking Your Water

  • If the pump on the control was submerged underwater for any amount of time, it is advised not to turn on the pump because the chances of pump damage and personal injury are greater if the well is used before the pump and electrical system have both been cleaned and dried thoroughly.
  • If you suspect that your pump has been contaminated in this slightest, then do not pump any of that water into your house.  Also, it is strongly advised that, if you are not satisfied with your well water, then do not use the well water for either drinking or personal cleanliness.
  • Inspect the well for physical damages and/or signs of leakage.  The force of flowing water and the presence of debris, which will only increase the likelihood of contaminated well water.  Licensed well water contractors can be contacted to examine and repair the damage to your well.
  • Be sure to turn off your electricity before inspecting the pump.  If the water is clean, then the water is safe.  If not, then a repairman will need to be contacted to rectify the issue.
  • If the well’s mechanical and/or electrical system appears undamaged or required repairs, pump well water out of the nearest outlet to the pump, in order to check to see if the water is cloudy.  If the water proves to be cloudy, keep pumping until the water turns clear.  If the water will not run clear after at least a few hours of pumping, contact a professional.
  • Once you have decided whether or not to test for contamination or disinfect the water, if the water has run clear since the flood with no physical damage to the well, no further action may be required.
  • The well should be disinfected and tested if the water runs cloudy.  Even if you see no signs of contamination, that does not mean that it is not there.  Undetected water damage to your well still means that undetected damages could have allowed for bacteria to enter your water supply, or your water supply could have also been contaminated by a neighboring water well.  
  • Just to be on the safe side, some individuals choose to clean their water well to avoid any contamination.  Afterwards, testing is the best way to tell if your water is safe to use again.  A large dose of chlorine can eliminate any presence of bacteria.  However, chlorine does not reduce the risk of other such contaminants.
  • It is never a bad idea to consult a licensed clean water well contractor.
  • If you must use water, bring the water to a rolling boil point it first, then cool it, before using it in any capacity.

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