One of the great dangers we face every spring is snow melt fueled floods. Rivers further swollen by spring rains frequently overrun their banks and flood the neighboring farms, villages and towns. An unseen consequence of this flooding in the inundation of the groundwater wells the local residents use for drinking water.
In 2016, both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers rose to historic levels and a large part of the mid-west was under water. Many of the homes in this area of the country rely on groundwater, often having their own private wells. Remember, if you own the well it is your responsibility to ensure the water is safe.
The imminent danger, while the area is still flooded, is electric shock. Most of these wells have electric pumps installed in them, and the risk of electric shock is very high until the pump dries out. Having an electrician check it out before turning it on is a good idea. You will have to ensure that all the pump components have been cleaned of silt, sand and make sure it is properly lubricated.
Once the pump has been turned on, let it pump until the water runs clear and all the flood water has been removed. If you cannot achieve clear water, contact a professional immediately.
All groundwater wells that are supplying water for household use should be disinfected by a licensed professional. Flood waters can contaminate well water and even cause some wells to collapse. Sediment and other debris carried by the flood water can compromise the security of the groundwater well; even if there is no apparent damage. Finally have the water tested by a lab for potability before resuming use. Just because the water looks clean doesn’t mean it is safe to drink! This is something which should be done on a regular basis.
Ensuring the safety and stability of your drinking water is a serious matter that needs constant attention.
Keep an eye on new construction and other changes to the local infrastructure and check to see if they are going to impact your groundwater. A rash of new home construction could overtax the aquifer.
Any new industrial installation could potentially pollute groundwater. What protections are being installed to avoid any groundwater problems?
Is your groundwater protected from pesticides or fertilizers?
Always remember, having safe potable water could be a matter of life and death!