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DNR Warns: Spring Snowmelt, Rain Can Contaminate Wells
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/06/2017

Warming temperatures, snow melt, residual frozen ground and rain can create conditions that may affect private wells and drinking water. That's according to Marty Nessman, a water supervisor with the Department of Natural Resources, who says flood waters and rain runoff may contain bacteria and other contaminants that can affect water supplies and cause illness.

"Our recent round of snow, rain and mixed precipitation throughout the state serves as a reminder that changing spring weather can lead to well contamination," Nessman says. "At this time of year we encourage well owners to watch for signs of flooding and note any change in the color, smell or taste of their drinking water."

He notes that wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination.

The DNR says disinfection and sampling is best done by a licensed well driller or pump installer. Any water supply system that has been submerged by flood waters should be pumped out once the floodwater recedes, then thoroughly disinfected and tested to determine that the water is safe.

To ensure safe drinking water, well owners are encouraged to learn whether they have a properly constructed well and test it annually for bacteria. More information on bacteriological contamination of drinking water wells, along with lists of licensed well drillers, pump installers and labs certified to analyze water samples can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for wells.

For individuals who receive drinking water from a public water supply, these systems are designed and operated to keep out contaminants. If you have concerns about the safety of your community's drinking water, contact your public water supplier.

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