Flood waters can impact your health as much as your home.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging anyone on well-water to check if it is safe to drink or use.

According to the health unit, anyone that is on a private well should take actions to ensure their well water is safe for consumption. When a water supply well has been affected by flood waters, the water within the well may be contaminated with bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause serious illness in humans and pets. If you believe that your well has been contaminated, discontinue using your well water for drinking and cooking purposes, and use only disinfected or boiled water.”

The first step to making sure your well-water is safe is to assess the condition of the well. HKPR says you can do that by answering a few questions, is your well in or near a flooded area? is the ground surface around the well intact and stable? are there any wires or electrical equipment visible? is there any damage to the well-casing that you can see? and is the well cap and seal secure to the well-casing?

Another way to protect your well is to make sure that it is debris free. The health unit says that flood water can carry large debris that might be able to dislodge parts of the well or crack the well casing. As well flood waters can drop a large amount of sediment into the well. According to HKPR “if an excessive quantity of mud, silt or debris has entered the well, the pump may need to be removed to be cleaned.”

If any of that sort of thing is seen, the health unit encourages that you contact a professional and get your well repaired.

As a way to disinfect your well, HKPR suggests using a process called “Shock Chlorination”. it is designed to inactivate harmful bacteria, which should reduce the bacteria left behind by flood waters. HKPR says that process should be done by a licenced well driller.

“After a contaminated well has been properly disinfected and the chlorine has been flushed out of the water system, the water should be tested to confirm that bacterial contamination has been removed. If chlorine odours persist, you may have to do additional flushing or wait several days before testing to be sure that all the chlorine has been flushed from the water system. Until testing shows that the water is free of bacterial contamination, you should continue to use disinfected or boiled water.” says HKPR