Knowing how to prepare your well for a hurricane is very important if you live in a region prone to them. Here are some tips to help ensure your well is safe before, during, and after a hurricane.
How Hurricanes can Harm Wells
Hurricanes can supply an enormous amount of rainfall and powerful winds over a short period of time. The high-velocity winds can damage buildings and vegetation, break windows, uproot trees, and lead to soil erosion.
Flooding from the hurricane’s storm surge and rainfall can contaminate well water with chemical pollutants, bacteria, and sediment. Wells located in coastal areas are especially vulnerable to flooding and contamination.
With Hurricane Season upon us, property owners with private wells need to know how to avoid contamination and what to do if their well has been polluted. Heavy rains combined with existing saturated soil may cause well water systems to flood, even if they are not in a flood-prone location.
Getting Your Well Ready for Floodwaters
If floodwaters or a hurricane are heading your way, there are some things you can do to protect your well from damage and pollutants. These include:
- Clear any debris or Obstructions from around your wellhead that could hinder proper function during a hurricane.
- Private wells in flood-prone areas should be equipped with a flood-resistant well cap. The wellhead is protected by these waterproof covers, which prevent flooding from entering.
- Check the condition of the surface seal on the exterior of the casing.
- Just before a flood is forecast to arrive, turn off the power to your pump. Wait until the floods have receded before turning it back on.
- Stock up on drinking water and have it stored somewhere that won’t be flooded so you may consume it until your well is certified safe.
How to Tell Whether Your Well is Contaminated
A hurricane or floodwater can lead to well contamination by carrying bacteria and pollutants to your well site and mixing with your well water. Here are some signs your well is contaminated:
- Parts of the well may have been displaced or destroyed by floodwaters. Examine the well casing or well cap for cracks.
- Look for sediment pushed in by flooding in and around the well.
- Examine the area surrounding the well. Is there any evidence of eroding? This might indicate that floods have entered the well.
- Look for any electrical lines that are still submerged safely. They are potentially harmful.
- Whether you’re not sure if your well water is contaminated, take precautions and get it tested by a competent specialist.
If Your Well is Inundated, Follow These Steps
Once storm waters have entered your well, there are some steps you can take to protect it and yourself. These include:
- Turning on the pump is not a good idea. This might result in an electrical shock, causing the pump to malfunction.
- Remove any visible mud or debris from the well casing and any components that are accessible.
- If surface water is moving toward the well casing, regrade the ground surrounding it.
- Assume the water is tainted with germs, making it unsafe to drink. Do not drink or wash dishes with it until it has been thoroughly cleansed.
- An electrical examination should be performed by an expert.
- Perform disinfection on a well that has not been damaged structurally. You may want to employ someone to help you with this. If you want to handle it yourself, the Environmental Protection Agency offers a disinfecting procedure you may use.
To Disinfect Your Well Water, Take the Following Steps
Do not despair if your well water has been affected by storm waters. Take these steps to disinfect it:
- Open all of the house’s faucets until the water smells like chlorine. If the pH of your water is between 6 and 7, this method is efficient as a disinfectant. If you’re not sure, get your well disinfected by a competent specialist.
- Recirculate water back into the well by connecting a hose to an exterior tap. For a period of 24 hours, do not use any of your home taps.
- Flush the lines that carry the majority of the water through a garden house until the chlorine is gone.
Even after disinfecting your well water, it is a good idea to hire a professional water testing service to make sure it is safe to drink.
Is The Water From My Flooded Well Safe to Drink?
It is safe to bet that your well water has become contaminated and is not safe to drink if it has made contact with hurricane storm runoff.
Contact your local health department to have your well water sampled and tested for pollution after you’ve hired a professional or cleaned a well yourself, or call a plumber for well water testing and repair.
As hurricane season approaches, take the time to check your home’s plumbing. If you suspect damage from a storm or flood, it is best to contact an expert who can assess and repair any system-wide issues before disaster strikes. With proper planning and maintenance of your water system throughout the year, you will be prepared for storms in advance.
The “5 ways to prepare for a hurricane” is a blog post that discusses the different ways that you can prepare for a hurricane. It provides information on how to protect your home, car, and pets.
Different types of weather can cause issues with plumbing, with winter weather being perhaps the biggest culprit. Learn how to protect your home’s plumbing in Don’t Let The Cold Weather Cause A Plumbing Disaster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you drink well water after a hurricane?
A: If the hurricane has caused a lot of damage to your city’s infrastructure, then it is advisable that you should avoid using any drinking fountains or wells near where the storm was.
Where is safe during hurricane season?
A: You should either stay inside or find shelter at the best place available to you, as hurricanes often destroy homes and buildings that were not reinforced properly.
- what to know about hurricane season
- how do hurricanes form
- storm preparedness checklist
- hurricane preparedness checklist 2020
- how to prepare for a hurricane essay