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Alert to Private Well Owners in Flooded Areas

September 10, 2017

The Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County (DOH-St. Lucie) advises residents living in homes with private wells affected by flood waters to take precautions against disease-causing organisms that may make their water unsafe to drink.

DOH-St. Lucie recommends ONE of the following:

  1. Boil tap water and holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute. Let it cool before using it for drinking, brushing teeth, washing food, cooking, or washing dishes;
  2. OR disinfect tap water by adding 8 drops of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6% strength), which is about 1/8 tsp or a dime sized puddle, per gallon of water. If a higher strength bleach is used (8.25% strength), only add 7 drops of bleach. Mix the solution and let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure once.

    Note: Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination. In addition, containers for water should be rinsed with a bleach solution of one tablespoon bleach per gallon of water before reusing them.

  3. OR use commercially-available bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

After the flooding subsides:

  • Disinfect your private well using the procedures available from DOH-St. Lucie or visit the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/private-well-testing/index.html. You may also visit the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) website for instructions: http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/well/whatdo.cfm.
  • To know if your water is safe, have your water tested by a certified laboratory for coliform bacteria if available. To find a certified laboratory, visit the following website: https://fldeploc.dep.state.fl.us/aams/index.asp).