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Chlorination and Sanitizing the Water Well

Shock chlorination, sanitizing or disinfection of a water well must be performed anytime the well is compromised. This typically is the case whenever the well is serviced, floodwaters have invaded the source or strong rancid odors emit from the pressurized water.

There are charts available from educational sites to determine the capacity of the well water and the amount of non-scented household bleach to use for disinfection. To be quite honest, you are not going to drink the water until it has been treated, flushed and tested by the health department, so use 1-gallon of household bleach and pour it down the well.

Connect a garden hose to the nearest outdoor spigot. Run the free end of the hose down the drilled well casing. In the case of a dug well, attach a sprayer to the free end of the hose. Open the spigot valve and let the water circulate down the drilled well casing for at least a full half-hour. For the dug well, start spraying down the sides of the well with the hose sprayer attachment for a good hour. Clean the sides of the dug well, with the water spray only, as good as possible.

After the allotted time has passed, close the spigot valve and go inside the home. Open every faucet and valve in the house. Run the water from the faucets until a "strong" odor of bleach hits your nose. Close the faucets and valves. Let the bleach water sit in the pipes and hot water tank for at least 12 hours, but preferably for a full 24 hours if possible. Remove the garden hose from the well casing or dug well.

Flush the bleach water from the well system by opening the hose spigot with the garden hose still attached. Run the hose to an area where vegetation will NOT be damaged by the bleach water. Typically run the free end of the hose down a drainage ditch. Flush until the bleach odor noticeably dissipates. This may take several hours.

Open all faucets in the home after the garden hose flushing operation. Run the water until the heavy scent of bleach is not so strong. To be honest it will take several days of running water to remove the bleach smell. You will also want to take the time to Flush the Water Heater after shock chlorination.

Be sure to get plenty of bottled water on hand before you shock-chlorinate the well. A good rule of thumb is two-gallons of fresh water per person-per day or one case of small bottled water per person-per day. Chances are if you live in the country, I do not have to tell you about storing up water.

If you still have concerns about the water after the shock process, contact your local health department for conducting a water test of the well system.