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Water Specialist Says Keep Watch On Your Well For Contamination

Wisconsin DNR

Warming temperatures, snow melt, residual frozen ground and rain can create conditions that may affect private wells and drinking water and a DNR specialist says be vigilant.

DNR private water supply field supervisor Marty Nessman says runoff this time of year can lead to well contamination...

"....snow melt can cause surface contamination to reach wells through the flushing of the water through the systems. This time of the year we encourage well owners to look for signs of flooding and note any changes in water quality like smell or taste in their drinking water...."

Flood waters and rain runoff may contain bacteria and other contaminants that can affect water supplies and cause illness. Nessman says wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination.

Nessman said disinfection and sampling is best done by a licensed well driller or pump installer. Any water supply system that has been submerged by flood waters should be pumped out once the floodwater recedes, then thoroughly disinfected and tested to determine that the water is safe...

"...it's the well owners responsibility to make sure the water they are drinking is safe. I would encourage everyone every year to get their water sampled for bacteria and nitrate analyzed in a lab...."

More information on contamination of drinking water wells, along with lists of licensed well drillers, pump installers and labs certified to analyze water samples can be found by searching theDNR website.