Wells that have been overtopped by floodwater pose a number of immediate dangers, from electrical shock to serious water-borne illnesses. Therefore, do not turn on your pump after flooding has occurred and do not drink or wash with well water. Your well and pump need to be inspected after a flood. Your well also needs to be properly disinfected and its water tested for safety. |
Well and Pump Inspection Swiftly moving floodwater can carry large debris that could loosen well hardware, dislodge well construction materials or distort casing. Coarse sediment in the flood waters could erode pump components. In some cases, floods may cause some wells to collapse. For all these reasons, you should have professionals inspect your system.
* Electrical system. Do not turn on the equipment until the wiring system has been checked by a qualified electrician, well contractor or pump contractor. If the pump's control box was submerged during the flood, all electrical components must be cleaned and dry before electrical service can be restored. Get assistance in turning the pump on from the well or pump contractor.
* Pump operation. All pumps and their electrical components may be damaged by sediment and floodwater. The pump, including the valves and gears, needs to be cleaned of silt and sand. If pumps are not properly cleaned and lubricated they can burn out. Get assistance from a well or pump contractor who can clean, repair and maintain different types of pumps.
Submersible pumps. The bearing on water-lubricated pumps will not be damaged by flood waters, since these bearings are constantly submerged in water. As soon as possible, flush clean water down the casing to remove sediment and silt. The disinfect the well.
Centrifugal pumps. Many centrifugal pumps contain two sets of oil-lubricated bearings along the drive shaft between the motor and the pumps. If the pump has been flooded, dismantle the container bracket and remover the bearings.
Clean the bearing or install new bearings if the old ones are worn out.
Close-coupled centrifugal pumps contain no bearings, so there is little chance of flood damage except to the electric motor.
Injector-type pumps. These pumps usually contain watertight packing at the ground surface, with sealed impellers. Flood waters probably will not damage this type of pump.
* General cleaning of drilled, driven or bored wells. To avoid damage to the well, have the contractor remove mud, silt and other debris from around the well top. If excessive mud, silt or sediment has entered the well, the pump may need to be removed before cleaning can take place.
The storage tank and piping should be all right unless muddy water was pumped through it. If tank is contaminated, disinfect the entire system with a strong chlorine solution. Use one quart household laundry bleach or check with local health department for recommended solution strength. Open all faucets while the system is being filled. Do not close the spigot until a definite smell of chlorine is evident. Don not use the system for 24 hours. Then start the pump and run water from all faucets until the chlorine odor is gone.
* Dug wells. Do not attempt to disinfect or use a dug well that has been flooded.
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