With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley.
Unfortunately, extreme floods and severe weather in Canada are increasingly more common. Even if you are fortunate enough to avoid water intrusion into your home, you could still be affected if your water well has been compromised. Flooding can cause significant damage to your well, so here we will explore its impact.
The Risk of Electrocution
While well pumps are designed to be submerged, flooding can still cause damage to the circuit board. If there has been a flood, you should always disconnect the electrical circuit board. Ensure that the board is cleaned and dried, but have a certified electrician inspect it before you try to use it again.
If your submersible pump has a screened vent and a good fitting cap, it should remain free of most of the sediment and debris carried by the flood water. If you have a surface pump, you will need to disconnect, clean and dry it before switching it back on to avoid damage and the risk of electrocution.
The Hazards of Unseen Contaminants
The greatest threat to your well from flooding is contamination. Flooding is more than just an excess of water, as it also carries contaminants that you will not want to enter your drinking water. If the well casing above the surface of the ground became submerged during the flood, there is a very good chance your well has been compromised. This means that the debris and contaminants carried in the sweep of water may have been introduced. Floodwater can contain gasoline or oil from roads, fertilizers, sewage from damaged septic systems and other chemicals that may be used in the area.
Additionally, you shouldn’t assume that your water is safe simply because your well was not infiltrated by surface water. After flooding, aquifers and the groundwater can be severely impacted. So, you still need to be aware of the potential dangers in your drinking water.
Ensuring Your Water is Safe
Once you have checked that your pump and well structure has not been damaged in the flood, you will need to restore your water purity. Bacteria are the most common water contaminant, but there may be other issues with your drinking water.
A professional water specialist can assist you with water testing and purifying your well, but it is possible to do this for yourself. You will need to purge the water from your well to begin the process of decontamination and chlorine disinfection. Take a water sample before you begin the process to compare to samples you will take afterwards. These samples will need to be tested to ensure that bacteria and other contaminant levels have dropped. You will need to keep pumping your water until it runs clear. Many well owners prefer to disinfect their well using chlorine bleach, but you will need professional laboratory testing to ensure that your water is safe. A flood can be upsetting and disruptive, but in the process of restoring life back to regular order, it is important to take the time to ensure that your drinking water does not pose a health risk to you or your family. For assistance with all your water quality issues, be sure to contact a professional water treatment expert.