Protect private wells from flooding contamination, MDH says

As continued rains have caused flooding throughout both northern and southern Minnesota, health officials are urging owners of private wells to take caution.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is notifying well water users to prepare for the possibility that they might flood – causing contamination.

MDH officials say if you believe your well has flooded, you should shut off its power to avoid having floodwater pumped into home plumbing systems.

As a preventative measure, you can also cover a well with a heavy plastic bag or sheeting secured with electrical tape, officials say.

If floodwater has reached a well, you should assume it has been contaminated, and its water should not be used for drinking or cooking. If contamination happens, have a licensed well contractor inspect the well, clean out sediment or debris and disinfect it with a chlorine solution. Using your well pump to remove sediment or debris could ruin the pump.

Following disinfection, people are encouraged to test for coliform bacteria through MDH.