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Health Department: Rain increases need to check well water

By Staff | Jul 31, 2013

The Florida Department of Health is encouraging renters and owners of homes without public drinking water in Lee County to have their well system checked in the wake of an increase in systems found with unsafe levels of germs.

DOH-Lee is receiving an increased number of calls from people who complain of bad tasting water, smelly water, discolored water and sick children. Private home wells are not regulated so property owners and renters have full responsibility to make sure their tap water is safe.

“Renters are especially vulnerable,” said Charles Walther, environmental engineering manager at DOH-Lee in a prepared statement. “Many renters have no experience with well water and no training on how to maintain a potable well water system.”

Environmental Engineering staff is trained to inspect wells and advise residents on how to maintain or improve the safety of a drinking water system. State health department staff has produced a pamphlet to guide the public on how to treat flooded wells and how to disinfect wells that may have been flooded.

Recent heavy rains may have contributed to increased germs in the private well water systems, due to a lack of proper maintenance and leaking seals, said Walther. Rain creates run-off that carries bacteria from animal waste, chemicals or sewage that can seep into poorly maintained well water systems.

To ensure no coliform bacteria is in the water used for drinking, cooking and bathing, well water should be tested at least annually and preferably in the spring before rainy season. Many other factors can contribute to unsafe well water, and all are checked during an inspection.

Information on how to maintain drinking water wells in germ-free condition is available on the DOH-Lee website.Contact DOH-Lee or private businesses for well inspections. A fee is charged for this service.

For more information go to www.leechd.com, environmental engineering, or call 274-2200.