Private Wells

How to Safely Get a Flooded Well Back into Service:

There are four action steps needed to safely get a flooded well back into service:

Assessment: What to Look For

A flood will leave warning signs that a water well may be unsafe.  Floodwater carries large pieces of debris that can dislodge parts of the well and distort or crack the well casing.  Floodwater may also deposit mud or sediment in the well.  If you see any of these conditions you should have a professional repair the system. 

1.  Turn off power to the well
2.  Check whether the well was flooded. Check your well for flood water or signs of flooding. If you did not see the area during the flood, debris and mud in the area and water or mud stains on the well may indicate that the well was flooded. If you don’t have safe access to the well.
3.  See if the ground surface around the well is broken or unstable. Check for erosion that may lead to unsafe conditions or a pathway for surface water and contaminants to get in the well. Check whether flood water entered the well. 
4. Inspect electrical components and wires. Look for exposed/damaged wiring or electrical components. Check whether water entered any electrical components. Do not touch electrical wires. If electrical connections or controls located outside the well casing remain submerged, do not turn on the pump. If any water or damage is seen, or if it is suspected that any part of the electrical system has been submerged, call an electrician or well professional.
5. Check the well casing. A bent/cracked well casing may allow water, sediment and debris to enter the well and increase the risk of contamination. If the well casing needs to be repaired or replaced.
6. Check the well cap and seal. See if the cap and seal are securely fastened to the well casing. Sediment and debris may enter the well through a loose well cap and contaminate it. If sediment and debris have entered the well, call a professional before restarting the well.

Repair & Flushing: How to Clean Your Well

Take the following steps before using the well again. Be sure the electricity is off until you complete your check of the well as shown above. Never step in water around a well, unless you are sure the power is off.
Wait until the well has been restored by proper flushing and disinfection before you drink or wash with well water.

1. Clean Remove any visible mud, sediment, and other debris from the well casing, cap, and other accessible components. If there is excessive mud or sediment in the well, get professional help to remove the pump before cleaning or repairing.
2. Re-grade If the ground around the well is sloped down towards it, re-grade it so surface water flows away from the well casing. Surface water may contain contaminants that can get into the well if water flows down along the well casing.
3. Start pump After the pump has been inspected and repaired, or replaced if necessary, turn it on. If it does not start or pump water, get assistance from a registered well driller or pump contractor.
4. Flush Pump the water until it runs clear to get rid of any floodwater in the well. Use a hose connected to an outside faucet so the flushed water flows to a nearby drainageway rather than into your septic system or public sewer (after flooding, both septics and public sewers may be overwhelmed and unable to hold more wastewater). Depending on the size and depth of the well and extent of contamination, pumping times will vary; it may take thirty minutes, or it could take several hours or days until the water runs clear.

Source: NYS Dept. of Health