Alert to Private Well Owners in Flooded Areas
September 18, 2017
The Florida Department of Health advises private well owners affected by flood waters to take precautions against disease-causing organisms that may make their water unsafe to drink.
DOH recommends one of the following:
- Boil water before use, holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute before using it for drinking, brushing teeth, washing food, cooking, or washing dishes.
- Disinfect water by adding 8 drops (about 1/8 tsp – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6% strength) per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure once. If high strength bleach is used (8.25% strength), add 7 drops.
- Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination.
- Use bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.
After the flooding subsides:
- Disinfect your well using the procedures available from your county or state health department: https://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/private-well-testing/index.html. You may also visit the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) website for instructions: http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/well/whatdo.cfm
- If available, have your water tested by your county health department or by a laboratory certified by the State of Florida to perform a drinking water analysis for coliform bacteria.