Well Owner Tips in Case of Flooding

After a flood, the owners of household wells should take certain precautions to
make sure their water is safe and their well is in good operating condition.

An obvious concern is that flood water loaded with bacteria, chemicals or other
pollutants may have gotten into the well. A less obvious concern is electrical
shock if a non-submersible pump or any part of the well electrical system is

After a flood one should:

  1. Stay away from the well pump while it is flooded to avoid electrical shock
  2. Do not drink the water from the well or use it for washing to avoid becoming sick
  3. Get help from a qualified water well contractor or pump installer to:
    • Clean and turn on the pump
    • Flush the well
    • Disinfect the well
    • Perform any other necessary maintenance

For the purpose of well disinfection after a flooding event, two categories of wells exist:

  • Category one: wells that are not generally at risk based on their construction and maintenance
  • Category two: wells that are at risk due to construction deficiencies and/or lack of maintenance, compromising the integrity of the well.

Category one wells have only one avenue for outside water to penetrate the well: the vent. Well vents are normally a half inch diameter opening that is protected with a small mesh screen.

Category two wells may have a risk in water entering through:

  • The space between the well casing (the vertical pipe extending down into the well) and the drilled hole
  • A defective well cap
  • A defective well casing, in which debris and mud can enter the well. This mud and debris must be physically removed from the well in order to properly disinfect the well. The effort to clean the water well combined with the physical integrity of the ll could dictate the construction of a new water well.

Water wells are specialized systems that require knowledge and expertise to repair and disinfect. If your well has been flooded, use bottled water or boil your water until a qualified water well system contractor can check out your well system. Well owners also can benefit from reading the well maintenance and water quality sections of this Web site.