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For Immediate Release
June 1, 2011

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or

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Water Chief: Take Action Before Flooding to Protect Drinking Water

Lincoln—Private water well owners in soon-to-be-flooded areas should take precautions to prevent their drinking water from being contaminated, according to Jack Daniel, administrator of the Office of Drinking Water and Environmental Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“Well owners who expect flooding can take actions to make it harder for contaminants to enter their wells,” Daniel said. “Wells are direct conduits for contaminants to enter groundwater.”

Well owners should take the following steps if they believe their well will be impacted:

  • Before taking the well out of service, store a supply of clean water;
  • Disconnect the power supply for the well. Consult a Nebraska-licensed well driller or pump installer if help is needed;
  • Perform actions necessary to make the well water-tight, including removing the well vent and replacing it with a water-tight plug, and sealing any visible joint openings with water-tight caulking or equivalent material;
  • Cover the top of the well with a heavy-duty plastic trash bag or equivalent protective covering and tightly secure it, making it as water-tight as possible to keep out dirt, debris and contaminants.

“Sealing won’t eliminate the need for testing and possible disinfection, but it will provide the best chance for the well to come on-line quickly and minimize repair costs and maintenance,” Daniels said.

Information regarding disinfection of wells and recovery from flooding can be found at