Local News

Flood Victims Wonder if their Water is 'Well'

Posted October 4, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Hundreds of people who live in eastern North Carolina rely on well water. Now that most of the flooding has dried up and people are back in their homes, many are wondering if the water is safe to drink.

There are several things you must do to get your well tested.

It is the well owner's responsibility to call the local health department. However, before that, there is a little work to be done.

David James wants to know if his well is safe even though it looks fine. There was so much flooding around his Edgecombe County street after Floyd that he wants his well water tested before he takes a drink.

"We have the water to take a bath in, but you know you never can be too safe. We're just having him out here to check the water to make sure we can go back to consuming our water," said James.

Wells can be contaminated even if they were not covered in water. Before the health department can test your well, you have to chlorinate it.

  • Pour a gallon of bleach directly into the well. If it was ever covered with flood water, pour six gallons in.
  • Go inside and turn on each spigot until you smell chlorine. Then, turn it off.
  • Let it sit 24 hours to clean the pipes.
  • Turn on an outside tap until the chlorine smell is gone. It usually takes about an hour to clear out.
  • Call the health department to come out and test the water.

    "We're trying to concentrate in the flooded areas first. We realize there was a whole lot of water out there and that there are going to be areas that are not flooded, but people are going to have concerns. Treat your well, and we'll be happy to pull that sample for you," said George Whitehurst, environmental health specialist.

    If you have any doubt as to whether the water in your well is safe, there are a couple of things you can do.

    The safest thing is to drink bottled water until you get your water tested. You can also boil your water for three minutes, but they recommend infants and pregnant women stick with bottled water.