Westchester Health Dept. Urges Flooded Wells Get Tested

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Sewage and harmful contaminants can be washed into wells by storm water. Residents should have water tested if it is evident that well cap has been submerged.
Sewage and harmful contaminants can be washed into wells by storm water. Residents should have water tested if it is evident that well cap has been submerged. Photo Credit: Flickr user TobyCor

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – The Westchester County Department of Health has alerted residents with flooded water wells on their property to either boil water before consumption or to use bottled water as a precautionary measure.

Sewage and other harmful contaminants can be washed into private wells by storm water, and residents should have their water tested if it is evident that their well cap has been submerged.

“Until well water is either disinfected or confirmed to be safe, residents and food service businesses with private wells should boil water at a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute prior to drinking it or using to prepare food, wash dishes by hand or brush teeth," said Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, M.D., via a press release. Amler said dishwashers can be used as per usual, and well water can be used to wash clothes without boiling.

Those with wells should seek professional help in dealing with the impact of floodwater on their water quality as well as their well system, said the Health Department. Instructions on how to disinfect wells, storage tanks and house piping can be found here.

The Health Department also cautions those who handle the cleanup of floodwater and mud that both might contain sewage and/or other contaminants. The department advises that heavy work gloves, long-sleeved shirts, pants and boots should be worn during cleanup to avoid direct contact with skin.

After a power failure, frozen foods that are hard and still contain ice crystals are safe to cook or refreeze, but frozen foods that have thawed should be cooked and consumed immediately or discarded. Foods that have warmed to room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.

Click here for more information on post-storm safety. 

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