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Stoddard County Extension expert offers advice on disinfecting wells after flooding

University of Missouri Extension provided a wide variety of resources and helpful advice for victims of recent floods, including the following news release.

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Heavy rains and rising rivers may flood wells, warned Van Ayers, an MU Extension agriculture and rural development specialist. “Wells could be contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites that can make you ill,” he said.

Water from a flooded well should not be used for drinking or food preparation until the well and plumbing system have been disinfected and the water has been tested for safety.

In addition to dangerous pathogens, floodwater can carry abrasive sediment, debris and other contaminants that can damage well equipment, Ayers said.

If you must use the water, check with your local health department for recommendations on how long to boil water before using. Consider using alternative water sources such as bottled water.

If your well does have run-in water, you should take steps to ensure the safety of the water and minimize damage to the well.

Turn off the electricity to the pump and inspect the well and pumping system for run-in and signs of damage. If the well cap is missing or is not watertight, debris or sediment may have entered the well. Starting the pump under such conditions could damage the pump. If necessary, have a certified well installer look at the well and have an electrician examine the wiring and power unit for the well.

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