813F93001
                                                             EPA REGION VII IRC
                                                               069054
                                   I p f.
     PRIVATE WELLS - GUIDANCE FOR WHAT TO DO AFTER THE FLOOD
                 WARNING !  DO NOT TURN ON THE PUMP

 There is danger of electrical shock and damage to your well or pump if they
 have been flooded.
          WARNING!   DO NOT DRINK OR WASH WITH WELL WATER

 People drinking or washing with water from a private well that has been
 flooded will risk getting sick.
This Guidance is intended to supplement flood precautions issued by State and local
health and environmental departments.

WELL AND PUMP INSPECTION

            Flood Conditions at the Well - Swiftly moving flood water can carry large
            debris that could loosen well hardware, dislodge well construction materials
            or distort casing. Coarse sediment in the flood waters could erode pump
            components.  If the well is not tightly capped, sediment and flood water
            could enter the well and contaminate it.  Wells that are more than 10 years
            old or less than 50 feet deep are likely to be contaminated, even if there is
            no apparent damage. Floods may cause some wells to collapse.

            Electrical System -  After flood waters have receded and the pump and
            electrical system have dried, do not turn on the equipment until the wiring
            system  has been checked by a qualified electrician, well contractor, or
            pump contractor.  If the pump's control box was submerged during the
            flood all electrical components must be dry before electrical service can be
            restored. Get Assistance in turning the pump on from a well or pump
            contractor.

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            Pump Operation - All pumps and their electrical components can  be
            damaged by sediment and floodwater. The pump including the valves and
            gears will need to be cleaned of silt and sand.  If pumps are not cleaned
            and properly lubricated they can burn out.  Get assistance from a well or
            pump contractor who will be able to clean, repair or maintain different types
            of pumps.
CLEANING THE WELL
            Drilled, driven or bored wells - To avoid damage to the well, contact a
            well or pump contractor to remove mud, silt and other debris from around
            the top of the well. Consult the contractor if you suspect that excessive
            mud, silt or sediment has entered the well.  The pump may need to be
            removed for bailers to remove mud and silt from the bottom of the well.
 Dug wells - It is not recommended to attempt to disinfect or use a dug well that
 has been flooded.
PUMPING THE WELL

            After the contractor services and cleans the well, pump the well until the
            water runs clear to rid the well of flood water. Depending on the size and
            depth of the well and extent of contamination, pumping times will vary.  If
            the water does not run clear, get advice from the county or state health
            department or extension service.

EMERGENCY DISINFECTION OF WELLS THAT HAVE BEEN FLOODED

            Drilled, driven or  bored wells - These wells are best disinfected by the
            well or pump contractor because it is  difficult for the private owner to
            thoroughly disinfect these wells. However one method that can be tried is:

            1.    After you are sure that the pump unit and electrical components are
                 in operating order, pump the well for several  hours to reduce
                 cloudiness and contaminant levels in the water.

            2.    Pour about four gallons of chlorine bleach solution into the well (one
                 gallon  of  bleach mixed  with three  gallons  of clean water).  Use
                 bottles of chlorine bleach that have not been  previously  opened.
                 Chlorine bleach substitutes cannot be used.  Calcium hypochlorite
                 may also be used (contact your state or county officials for amount
                 to use). Pgmp water through all outlets in the plumbing by opening
                 faucets until water smells of chlorine.  If it does not, add more
                 chlorine bleach to the well.

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            3.     With all faucets off, let system sit for 24 hours.

            4.     Turn on the pump by running water from all faucets until the chlorine
                  odor disappears. Adjust the flow of water faucets  or fixtures that
                  discharge to septic tank systems to low flow to avoid overloading the
                  septic system.

            5.     After 10 days, have the water sampled and tested by an approved
                  laboratory pr health department. This water is not safe for drinking.

            6.     If the testing indicates contamination, do not use the water for any
                  purpose unless the water is first disinfected. If testing indicates no
                  contamination is present, water should be used only for bathing and
                  washing, not letting the water enter the mouth.   This water can be
                  used for drinking or cooking by disinfecting it. To do this, boil the
                  water for 3 - 5 minutes or add  10 drops of bleach to one gallon of
                  water (Mix and let stand for 30 minutes before drinking).
 CAUTION:  Because of the extensive flood area and the speed and direction of
 ground water flow, your well may not be a safe source of water for many months
 after the flood. The well can become contaminated with bacteria or other
 contaminants. Waste water from malfunctioning septic tanks or chemicals seeping
 into the ground can contaminate the ground water even after the water was tested
 and found to be safe.  It will be  necessary to take long range precautions,
 including repeated testing, to protect the safety of drinking water.
SAMPLING AND TESTING THE WELL WATER

           Contact the local health department to have well water sampled and tested
            for contamination.

           If the health department issues sterile bottles for the private well owner to
            collect water samples, follow all instructions for the use of these bottles.

           After the pump is back in operation, the health department should sample
            and test the water at regular intervals.

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  CONCERNS AND ADVISORIES
  If in doubt about the well water supply, follow health department drinking and
  bathing advisories.
  Remember that there is a danger of electrical shock from any electrical device
  that has been flooded;  consult a certified electrician.  Rubber boots and gloves are
  not adequate protection from electric shock.
  Well disinfection will not provide protection from pesticides, heavy metals and other
  types of non-biological contamination. If such contamination is suspected, due to
  the nearness of these contaminant sources, special treatment is required.
  Information on  home water treatment units (also called point-of-use and point-of-
  entry units) is available from  U.S. EPA by phoning the Safe Drinking Water
  Hotline (1-800-426-4791).  If you observe chemical containers (including barrels
  and drums) that have moved to your property, call your state  or county health
  department or the EPA Superfund Hotline (1-800-424-9346).
  For information on long-term water quality conditions in the area, consult the state
  or county health department.  Well owners may have information about the
  construction, or testing of their well and this information will be helpful to the health
  department in determining water quality conditions.
  Septic systems should not be used immediately after floods. Drain fields will not
  work until underground water has receded.  Septic lines may have broken during
  the flood.
Listed below are State flood hotline numbers to call for assistance:
(Note that some states have the same number)
Minnesota         800-621-3362
Wisconsin         800-621 -3362
Missouri           800-853-3362
Iowa              800-858-6918
Illinois             800-820-1125
Nebraska         800-853-3362
South Dakota      800-330-4250
Kansas            800-853-3362
North Dakota      701-250-4501  (Disaster Field  Office number to  use until  hotline
                                 number established)

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