Earlier posts on WaterTestingBlog.Com advised well owners to test their wells for contamination after flood waters receded and that opinion comes from other more recognized sources as well. See below for an excerpt from a University of Iowa News Release issued on June 25, 2008.
University Hygienic Lab answers question about who should test well water
Should I be testing my water? Many people who are on private well systems are asking that question because of the recent flooding.
Nancy Hall, supervisor of environmental microbiology for the University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL), explains that the focus for testing is on wells that have been directly impacted by floodwaters.
“People whose drinking water comes from private wells should have their water tested if their wells were covered by flood water or if the well is located close to flood water, which are those located in the 100-year and 500-year flood plain,” Hall said. “We have sent the message for years that people should have their well water tested once a year, and people should do this. But our priority now is to first make sure that we test the water for those families impacted by the flood who may be without safe water.”
The UHL distributed hundreds of water testing kits to all county health departments affected by the flooding for this testing. These kits include supplies and instructions for collection and mailing of samples to the lab on the Oakdale Campus, just north of Iowa City. Contact your county health department to obtain a kit.
The UHL provides consultation on disease prevention, water and food safety, and disinfection of environmental surfaces. These services are particularly helpful to homeowners and businesses as they resume operations following a flood. The toll-free number for the Hygienic Lab is 800-421-IOWA (4692).
Additional information about health concerns related to flooding is also available on the University of Iowa Flood Information blog and on the UHL home page.
The Iowa Department of Public Health provides detailed information about precautions to following recovery and clean-up following a flood on its website.
The question now becomes HOW to test wells after flooding. For the safety of all parties involved, WaterTestingBlog.Com suggests that well owners seek professional laboratory testing due to the potential severity of well water contamination.
While home test kits like the ones offered by companies such as Industrial Test Systems, Inc., LaMotte, Hach and others work quite well for everyday screening purposes, WaterTestingBlog.Com believes strongly in using certified laboratories in situations where natural disasters may have tipped the scales in favor of life-threatening drinking water contamination.