Steps to disinfect your well

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 04/08/97.

Step 1:
Disconnect any household water filters or water softeners.

Make certain that it is safe to turn the electricity back on. Turn on the electricity and check to see if the well pump will run. Turn the electricity off again. Open the well either by: 1) removing the well cap or a threaded plug in the cap; or 2) disconnecting a shallow well jet pump. You will have to contact a well driller or pump installer to disinfect a well with a packer-type jet pump.

Caution: If you must enter a well pit to do this work, you should know that people die every year from asphyxiation or electrocution in well pits. Seek professional help or guidance on proper safety precautions before entering any well pit.

Step 2:
Mix up a solution of one part common laundry bleach (Chlorox, Hylex, etc.) to 10 parts of water. Donít use bleach with scent added or swimming pool bleach. Be careful mixing the bleach; eye protection and protective clothing are suggested.

Step 3:
Pour the bleach and water solution into the well. Avoid pouring directly onto the pump wiring. Reconnect a shallow well jet pump if you had to remove it. After turning on the electricity, circulate the solution in the well either by placing a garden hose into the top of the well and turning the water on for 15 minutes or by starting and stopping the pump several times.

Step 4:
Open every water outlet on the system, one at a time, run the water until you can smell the chlorine, and then close the faucet. Allow the chlorine solution to remain in the system for at least 12 hours.

Step 5:
After 12 hours, flush the system by connecting a garden hose to an outside faucet, and discharge the water on the ground until the chlorine smell is gone. Drain the water heater. Avoid running the chlorinated water into a septic system or onto lawns or gardens. Then flush the remaining chlorine from the plumbing by opening the rest of the faucets. The small amount of chlorinated water flushed from the water pipes can be run into a septic tank.

Step 6:
After all the chlorinated water has been flushed from the system, wait 48 hours, and then have the water tested for bacterial safety. Obtain a water test kit from a certified water testing laboratory, and follow the instructions that come with the kit. You must continue to boil your water until the laboratory reports the water is safe.

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