Southwest Ga. residents using private wells urged to boil water

Boil Water advisory
Posted at 11:42 AM, Feb 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-25 06:58:48-05

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Southwest Health District of Georgia is urging those with flooded private wells to boil their water before using it.

The recommendation comes from Southwest Health District Environmental Health Director Dewayne Tanner, and he says the boil water notice only applies to those who have wells that were underwater as a result of recent rains.

“If flood water didn’t cover your well, then you need not take these precautions,” Tanner said.

The boil water notice has also only been officially issued to residents in Worth County, but Tanner says all residents should be cautious. 

“Regardless of whether a boil water order is in effect in your county,

if your private well flooded, please limit consumption to bottled water

or boil well water for two minutes at a rolling boil and strain it

before using it to brush their teeth, prepare food or drink,” he said.

If you're using water for other domestic activities, including bathing and washing laundry, you don't have to boil it before you use it, Tanner added.

Disinfection of flooded private wells cannot begin until water covering the affected wells recedes. The following is a guide on how to disinfect a flooded well:

Materials needed

  • One gallon of non-scented household liquid bleach
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Old clothes
  • A funnel

Step 1

If your water is muddy or cloudy, run the water from an outside spigot with a hose attached until the water becomes clear and free of sediments.

Step 2

Determine what type of well you have and how to pour the bleach into the well. Some wells have asanitary seal with either an air vent or a plug that can be removed. If it is a bored or dug well, the entire cover can be lifted off to provide a space for pouring the bleach into the well.

Step 3

Take the gallon of bleach and funnel (if needed) and carefully pour the bleach down into the well casing.

Step 4

After the bleach has been added, run water from an outside hose into the well casing until you smell chlorine coming from the hose. Then turn off the outside hose.

Step 5

Turn on all cold water faucets, inside and outside of house, until the chlorine odor is detected in each faucet, then shut them all off. If you have a water treatment system, switch it to bypass before turning on the indoor faucets.

Step 6

Wait six to 24 hours before turning the faucets back on. It is important not to drink, cook, bathe or wash with this water during the time period – it contains high amounts of chlorine.

Step 7

Once the waiting period is up, turn on an outside spigot with hose attached and run the water into a safe area where it will not disturb plants, lakes, streams or septic tanks. Run the water until there is no longer a chlorine odor. Turn the water off.

Step 8

The system should now be disinfected, and you can now use the water.

Step 9

If you are not sure about performing the disinfection procedure, contact a licensed, professional well installer for assistance.

Step 10

Contact your county health department for water testing at least five days after disinfectation.