Shock Disinfection of Your Well: Eliminate Harmful Well Bacteria

The following is a guest post from Houston, Texas real estate developer and entrepreneur Tracy Suttles.

I have stated in multiple articles that well supplied water in rural residential properties can be a source of concern. Having water contaminated with E. Coli or Coliform bacteria can drastically impact the sale of your home, by making the water unsafe to drink.

Most municipalities have testing facilities so you can check prior to the sale of your home to see if the water is safe. Regardless of whether you are selling or not it is a good idea to test your water supply twice a year.

Testing will return a numeric result based PPM (Parts Per Million) found in the tested sample of E. Coli and Coliform bacteria. The preferred reading is 0 E. Coli and 0 Coliform but up to 5 PPM Coliform is considered a safe level.

There is a method that doesn’t require the expensive addition of adding a reverse osmosis system or UV system to clean the bacteria out of the water supply before it exits the tap. This method is called Shock Disinfections or chlorinating your well.

Shocking your well supply is recommended if,

  • Lab results indicate a level of bacteria,
  • After you’ve replace or repaired the pump,
  • When the water distribution system is opened for repairs
  • Flood waters have reached the well supply and possibly contaminated the system

Shock Chlorination is recommended in these circumstances to ensure that bacteria contamination is controlled.

In order to shock your well there are a few simple steps you must take,

  1. Fill a five-gallon container with fresh water. If concentrated chlorine comes in contact with your skin or eyes use fresh water to flush the effected areas for several minutes. If contact is with your eyes go to the nearest medical facility for treatment immediately.
  2. Next ensure the well construction is able to prevent the direct entry of contaminates. Fin and eliminate any direct sources of contamination.
  3. Disinfect any well components that could be a source of future contamination.
  4. Isolate portions of the well system that could be degraded by the Chlorine solution.
  5. Mix sufficient chlorine-based chemical (I personally use household bleach) with the well water to create a solution containing 200 milligrams per litre (mg/l), of chlorine throughout the entire system. So mixture of ½ gallon of bleach to 5 gallons of fresh water is usually adequate.

Drain as much water from the system as possible. A good rule of thumb is to run the taps in the house until you no longer smell bleach in the water supply.

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