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August 24, 2011

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Owners should inspect structural integrity and check water clarity

(Richmond, Va.) In the aftermath of the August 23rd earthquake, private well owners may notice changes in the appearance of their water supplies or may have concerns about the quality of their water supply. Well owners should inspect the structural integrity of their well and also the clarity of the water coming from the well.

Discoloration, caused by sediment or minerals in the water, is not uncommon after an earthquake. Well owners who observe sediment in the water supply should use an alternate source of water until the water supply is clear. If in doubt regarding water quality, the water may be boiled before use or residents may consider using bottled water.

If your water is cloudy or muddy, the well and waterlines should be flushed until the water has cleared. Owners may also use “shock chlorination,” which is a process of disinfecting a private water supply and plumbing system by circulating a concentrated chlorine solution throughout the system.

The local health department can assist well owners with the chlorination and/or boiling procedures, which can also be found at the following links:

If the discoloration persists, or if well owners have concerns about bacterial contamination or structural integrity of the well they should contact a licensed professional to inspect the structure, test the water and treat if necessary.

For more information about specific concerns regarding private wells, contact your local health department. Additional resources on private well water are also available at the following locations:

Last Updated: 08-24-2011

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