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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Dealing with a flooded well after a storm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Access to clean, safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene is one of the primary concerns immediately following a flood. For Oklahomans who rely on private wells for their water supply, this means taking precautions to ensure the well is structurally sound and the water is not contaminated.

Bacterial contamination is a pressing concern when it comes to flooded wells. There also could be chemical contaminants in the water, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

“After a flood, it’s best to hold off on using water from your well until you know it’s safe, especially if you suspect it may be contaminated,” Peek said.

Since the force of floodwaters and debris can cause damage to a well, begin with a visual inspection of your well.

“You’ll want to look for any physical damage as well as any signs of leakage,” said Peek. “If you do detect damage or leaks, contact a licensed water well contractor.”

It also is important to check the pump and electrical system. Do not turn the system on until an electrician or pump contractor has inspected the system. Operating the well without cleaning and drying these parts could damage the pump and cause personal injury.

After determining that your well is electrically and mechanically sound, it is a good idea to test water for contamination.

“If the water from the well runs cloudy after a flood, you should test and disinfect the supply. But, keep in mind, even if you can’t see evidence of contamination, there’s still a chance it’s been polluted,” Peek said. “Testing the water is an easy way to ensure it’s safe for you and your family to use.”

OSU Cooperative Extension’s Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory (www.soiltesting.okstate.edu) offers services at a nominal fee including soil testing, as well as plant, animal waste and water analyses. Samples can be submitted through county Extension offices or directly to the lab.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality also provides water testing (405-702-0100, 800-522-0206, www.deq.state.ok.us).

For more information on dealing with flooded wells, contact the county Extension office.

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Leilana McKindra
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Agricultural Communications Services
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Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
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