City of El Paso Public Health: Be careful with well water

City of El Paso Public Health: Be careful with well water
MGN Online
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 3:11pm

Residents in county areas should take precautions to avoid illness due to flooding conditions

The recent abundance of rain has created the possibility of water wells on private property being contaminated with surface run off or septic system overflows. If your well has been contaminated or you suspect that it may be contaminated, DON’T drink the water. You may need to properly disinfect or treat the water and have it tested before drinking or using the water.

“Area residents need to be careful to ensure that their well water is clean and free of dangerous bacteria. Have your water tested. Share your results with your neighbors. If your well is contaminated, take the steps to sanitize it, and then test again,” recommends Robert Resendes, City of El Paso Public Health Director.

Be especially careful of infants, sick and elderly. Don’t mix baby formula with contaminated water. Don’t give it to pets either.

If your well has been contaminated (or you think it may have been contaminated), drink bottled water or clean water from another source. If none of these options are available, follow Boil Water Advisory (BWA) guidelines to minimize the risk of contracting a waterborne illness. For more information visit: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/health_professionals/bwa/public.html

Because of the extensive flooding in the area and the speed and direction of ground water flow, your well may not be a safe source of water for some time after the flood. The well can become contaminated with bacteria or other contaminants.

Waste water from malfunctioning septic tanks or chemicals seeping into the ground can contaminate the ground water even after the water was tested and found to be safe. It will be necessary to take long range precautions, including repeated testing, to protect the safety of drinking water.

Sampling and Testing Well Water
To find out more about water well testing please visit: http://home.elpasotexas.gov/health/laboratory.php,
or contact the City of El Paso Department of Public Health Laboratory by calling (915) 543-3535.

If in doubt about the well water supply, follow any drinking and bathing water advisories. Septic systems should not be used immediately after floods. Drain fields will not work until underground water has receded. Septic lines may have broken during the flood.

The mission of the El Paso Department of Public Health is to work in partnership with people in our community to promote and protect the health of the borderland. For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or call 2-1-1.

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