From the Southwest Health District
Residents using private wells that have been flooded by the recent severe weather should take precautions against waterborne illnesses by boiling well water for two minutes and then straining it before consumption, Southwest Health District Environmental Health Director Dewayne Tanner warned.
"Southwest Health District has issued a Boil Water Order for private wells in Baker, Early and Mitchell counties," Tanner said. "Under the Boil Water Order, residents in these areas should limit consumption to bottled water or boil well water for two minutes at a rolling boil and strain it before using it to brush their teeth, prepare food or drink."
Water need not be boiled for other domestic activities, such as washing laundry or bathing, he said.
"We are also aware of localized flooding in other parts of the district," said Tanner. "If you are concerned about contamination of your well water, please contact your county health department, and an environmental health specialist will test it." Fees for testing well water will be waived for residents in flooded areas.
Information on well water disinfection and other flood-related material is available at the Southwest Health District web page, www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.
Emergency Disinfection of Private Wells After a Flood
If your water is muddy or cloudy, run the water from an outside spigot with a hose attached until the water becomes clear and free of sediments.
Determine what type of well you have and how to pour the bleach into the well. Some wells have asanitary seal with either an air vent or a plug that can be removed. If it is a bored or dug well, the entire cover can be lifted off to provide a space for pouring the bleach into the well.
Take the gallon of bleach and funnel (if needed) and carefully pour the bleach down into the well casing.
After the bleach has been added, run water from an outside house into the well casing until you smell chlorine coming from the hose. Then turn off the outside hose.
Turn on all cold water faucets, inside and outside of house, until the chlorine odor is detected in each faucet, then shut them all off. If you have a water treatment system, switch it to bypass before turning on the indoor faucets.
Wait six to 24 hours before turning the faucets back on. It is important not to drink, cook, bathe or wash with this water during the time period - it contains high amounts of chlorine.
Once the waiting period is up, turn on an outside spigot with hose attached and run the water into a safe area where it will not disturb plants, lakes, streams or septic tanks. Run the water until there is no longer a chlorine odor. Turn the water off.
The system should now be disinfected, and you can now use the water.
If you are not sure about performing the disinfection procedure, contact a licensed, professional well installer for assistance.
Contact your county health department for water testing at least five days after disinfectation.