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Flooding and Private Well Water Contamination

Water associated with floods can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, chemicals and physical hazards. As such, direct contact with flood water should be avoided. Depending on the severity of the flood, plumbing lines within your home may have become contaminated.

Since flooding is an abnormal circumstance, you should test your private well water supply to determine if it is safe to drink or use.

  • STOP USING THE WATER from your home immediately, even if you have a disinfection system, until tests confirm that your water is safe to drink.
  • Additional caution should be exercised by members of the public who are pregnant, those with compromised immune systems, the elderly, children and infants.
  • If you suspect bacteriological contamination of your private well water supply, bring the water to a rapid rolling boil for at least one minute before using it for:
    • Drinking
    • Making infant formula, juices, ice or recipes
    • Washing food or dishes
    • Brushing your teeth
    • Rinsing contact lenses water
    • Alternately, you may wish to consider using bottled water or hauled water.
  • If you suspect chemical contamination of your private well water supply, contact an accredited laboratory to discuss your specific testing needs.
  • Have your well inspected by a certified well technician if you suspect that the structure of your well has been compromised.
  • Durham’s municipal water supply is treated and tested in accordance with the Ministry of Environment requirements, which regulate both quality and quantity. If you use the municipal water supply system, please contact the Regional Works Department for information at 905-668-7711 or 1-800-372-1102. If the municipal water supply system becomes unsafe to use customers would be notified via public broadcast.
  • Contact the Health Department’s Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613 for additional information about well water including: proper water sampling techniques, sample result interpretation, and how to properly disinfect your well etc…
  • Comprehensive well water information is also available online.