Tips for dealing with residential well flooding

Dec 11, 2014 5:10 PM by News Staff

Thursday's major storm is a major concern for homeowners with individual wells. The Butte County Public Health Department has provided the following advice to residents that have experienced a flooded well and contaminated drinking water:

Precautionary Measures- Excessive rainfall can cause residential wells to flood, resulting in the presence of total and fecal coliform bacteria. If the wellhead is surrounded by pooling water, the chances are good the well has flooded. The BCPHD recommends that homeowners with wells suspected of having been flooded should take one or more of the following precautions:

Use only bottled water for drinking and cooking

Boil tap water for one full minute before consumption

Add 8 drops or ¼ teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of clear water, mix and let stand for 30 minutes before using. Add twice that amount if water is cloudy.

Well Disinfection - After the flood waters subside from the well head, homeowners are advised to contact a licensed well drilling service or licensed water pump installation service to disinfect their wells. Homeowners wishing to disinfect their own wells can obtain detailed instructions form the Environmental Health Division by calling (530) 538-7281.

Coliform Sampling - After the well has been disinfected, the well water should be sampled for bacteria. Coliform bacteria are indicators of potential contamination of a water supply and may originate from human, animal or soil sources. The BCPHD Laboratory offers water sample testing for $18 with results available within 24 hours. Follow these steps when collecting your sample to ensure that bacteria is not introduced into the sample:

Use sterile bottles obtained from either the BCPHD Lab located at 695 Oleander Ave. in Chico or from the Environmental Health Division, located at 202 Mira Loma Dr. in Oroville.

Collect samples from a rust free outlet tap as close to the well as possible; if taken from a faucet inside the house, the aeration screen must be removed
Allow water to run at full strength for 5 minutes before collecting the sample

Fill bottle to fill line, recap the bottle and make sure NOT to touch the inside lid or bottle

Complete the lab water report that came with the sample bottle obtained from the lab

Bring water sample to the lab immediately, or refrigerate and submit in less than 24 hours

(Photo Courtesy: Jasmin Hernandez)


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