What to do (and what NOT to do) if your water well is flooded
Every so often the Reno/Sparks area experiences major flooding in the valley, which can be a huge mess for water well owners. While these floods do not happen as often here in the high desert as they do in hurricane areas, when they do happen they can wreak havoc on your water well, especially in the lowest points of the valley. The tremendous strength of flood water uproots trees, road signs and other large debris. Flood water also loosens coarse sediment along its path, which could end up damaging your well and contaminating your water if your water well is flooded.
After a natural disaster like a flood, it is important to take the necessary precautions to test and treat your water for the safety of you and your family. If a flood damages certain equipment in the well system, these damages should be fixed as quickly as possible in order to avoid further damage of the entire system.
How To Determine if Flood Water Has Contaminated Your Well
When a natural disaster like a flood occurs, state departments typically monitor water quality and inform citizens about dangers (for Nevada this includes the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection). This will be the first place you will want to look for information, as they will post alerts on their platforms. Second, if flooding has occurred close to your home or if the flood water rises above your well cap, you should have your water checked immediately.
When Flood Water Gets Into Your Well
There is a high probability that flood water is loaded with bacteria, environmental pollutants or other contaminants that render your water unsafe.
- Flood water is a force that carries large debris that could smash into well hardware and damage the well construction.
- Sediment from flood waters can erode the pump or flood into the well and contaminate your water. Older and shallower wells are at most risk for contamination.
- If the flood is large enough, it could cause your well to collapse.
If you suspect that your well may be contaminated due to flooding (which is a sound conclusion), call a professional to inspect the water well properly. Wells should be disinfected by a professional water well contractor, as it can be a lengthy process and it is extremely important that it is done right.
Coarse sediment is known to erode pump components, so the valves and gears will need to be cleaned off. Cleaning the pump components helps to prevent them from burning out. Because there are electrical components to the pump, the safe decision would be to call a professional well contractor to clean and lubricate the components.
Once the flood water recedes, do not turn the electrical system back on until a professional electrician or well contractor has cleared the system as safe. It is very possible that the electrical system was submerged during the flood, so the safe thing to do is to get the system cleared by a professional who can offer assistance with turning it back on.
If you are worried about flood damage or would like to know more about homeowner protocol for flood damage, contact Double R Water Well Services and we can perform a well check in.