CENTRAL SIERRA — Due to the recent flooding events in California there is the likelihood that some private household water wells may be damaged or contaminated.
Pumps and electrical components can be damaged from floodwaters, silt and debris, posing electrical safety hazards. Contamination of your drinking water during flooding events is a significant health threat.
Water from a flooded well should not be consumed nor used to cook, make ice, make coffee, or brush teeth until it has been tested and determined as safe drinking water.
Floodwaters within 50-feet of a well may result in an unsafe source of water for many months after the flood from bacteria or other contaminants. Waste water from malfunctioning septic tanks or chemicals seeping into the ground may contaminate the groundwater even after the water was tested and found to be safe. Well disinfection will not provide protection from pesticides, heavy metals and other types of non-biological contamination. Special treatment may be required.
Long range precautions should be taken to protect the safety of any drinking water supply. Contact your local environmental health department for advice on sampling your well and lists of available local laboratories.
The EPA has published a fact sheet regarding flooded wells: https://www.epa.gov/privatewells/protect-your-homes-water#what
If your well has been damaged and you are unable to afford to make repairs, low interest rate financial assistance may be available to qualifying homeowners through the Rural Community Assistance Corporation Household Water Well System program. Contact Cyndy Elliott at (209) 576-0430 for more information.
This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1978, RCAC provides training, technical and financial resources and advocacy so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. RCAC serves rural communities in 13 western states and the Pacific islands. Most of our work in Alaska, Hawaii and the western Pacific is focused in Native communities. RCAC also works with majority Latino communities and Tribes across the Southwest. RCAC provides a broad range of community and economic development services and lending to support local efforts. To find out more about RCAC’s Loan Fund products, visit http://www.rcac.org/programs-services/