Are you concerned about flooding affecting your drinking water? Water quality is an issue that affects everyone. Most of our drinking water comes from rivers and lakes and is treated before it comes into our homes. But if you are on a well system, your water’s safety is not tested by any outside agency. When we have large amounts of rain, or flooding, like we have seen recently, the water quality can be adversely affected. All the rain and flood water sends tons of fertilizers, chemicals, pollutants, and bacteria into the water supply. Municipal treatment facilities become overloaded and can release untreated water back into rivers, streams–our drinking water. And these chemicals and toxins can also work their way through the soil into the underground water supplies.
If you live in an area with heavy rains or flooding, be mindful of a few tips: If you have a private well, assume your water is contaminated. Even if your well hasn’t undergone direct flooding, contaminated surface water can enter through nearby shallow aquifers, other wells, or nearby excavation. Flooding can cause septic systems to overflow. The contaminated water cannot filter through the soil due to extreme saturation levels. This contamination works its way into underground drinking water sources. So, do not use the well water for human consumption. Use bottled water, or boiled water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Once flooding has subsided, test your water for coliform bacteria. If positive, have your well disinfected.
If you are on a public water system, contact the operator for updates on the status of water quality tests. If your home or property was flooded you should have the lines flushed and drained, then refill your water heater.