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.

Flooding and bacterial contamination are both concerns for property owners supplied by private water well. Most well owners are familiar with using chlorination as a treatment for these issues, as bleach can kill most organisms. Unfortunately, a bleach solution can also create unexpected consequences, reacting with components in the well and naturally occurring chemicals in the groundwater. Here, we will explore the topic of water well chlorination, so you can know what to expect.

The Basics of Water Well Chlorination

In simple terms, water well chlorination treatment involves shocking the well with high doses of chlorine. This is a way to kill bacterial blooms that occur due to events such as flooding or other natural processes. Since chlorination can produce some serious unintended consequences, it is recommended that this treatment is left to experienced well water professionals. Some homeowners are tempted to try to use standard household bleach, but you need to be very careful about the concentration of chlorine and frequency of treatment.

The Benefits and Potential Dangers Of Chlorination

When it is properly administered, chlorination kills bacterial organisms that are present in water and sanitizes the well. Unfortunately, there can also be side effects that could require additional water treatment. For example, in scenarios where arsenic is naturally occurring in the groundwater and soil, shock chlorination can cause serious issues.

Shock chlorination treatments can cause a temporary increase in the concentration of any metals present in your water. This could lead to elevated levels of arsenic, lead, copper and other potentially harmful elements. You may find that you will need to bear the additional cost of needing to purge your well to return the well water to normal levels.

The Chlorination Treatment

Generally, water technicians will chlorinate a well in stages. There are typically three forms of chlorine used for treating drinking water wells. It is rare for pure chlorine to be used, and it is more likely that sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite or chlorine gas will be used. The choice of chemicals depends on a number of factors that include the pH conditions, cost and storage options.

Is Chlorination Necessary?

It is recommended that private well owners have their water tested every year. If your sample test results show an increased level of bacteria or the presence of certain metals, you may need treatment. Additionally, if your well has been exposed to flooding, it is possible that the water may have been contaminated. For these reasons, many homeowners rely on the guidance of experienced well water professionals. A professional will be able to review your test and advise you of the treatment options, letting you know if your water supply requires chlorination treatment.

While chlorination is an effective treatment, it should not be taken lightly. This process is generally best to be handled by a professional specialist. This will prevent inadvertent side effects that could compromise your water quality and safety. Your technician can also advise you on the point of entry treatment solutions that are compatible with chlorination and could provide you with an additional layer of protection.