Flooding and Public Health
April 29, 2013
Flood victims should wait at least a couple of weeks before drinking the water from their wells. That's the advice from the Rock Island County Health Department for anyone who's well was covered by floodwaters, or who lives in a neighborhood affected by flooding.
Environmental Health Director, Paul Guse, says once the flood is over, people should run their pumps to get any possible floodwater from their wells, then dis-infect them with chlorine. Only after that, he says, should they have a sample tested to see if the water is safe.
"We're trying to cleanse the groundwater from what came in from the surface. When water flows in that's polluted, we have to pump some of that out and restore the naturally-clean water down there."
People who's wells were covered should also consider hiring a contractor to extend the casing above the ground and above the level of the flood, so it's protected next time. Guse advises home-owners to clean and sanitize indoors as soon as possible.
"If they don't get these materials out of there rapidly, they could have mold develop behind paneling and drywall. That's when you can have the delayed effect of people getting respiratory problems from breathing in mold. "
This and other information is covered on the Rock Island County Health Department website (www.richd.org). The Illinois Department of Public Health tests water samples for free, with containers provided by the health department, but shipping costs 5 dollars.