Whenever there is a flood after a massive storm, there is a potential for drinking water to be affected. Contaminants can make their way into water wells and municipal water supplies. While your local municipality is responsible for testing public water sources, homeowners with well water will need to get drinking water testing done themselves.
You should always assume that your water is contaminated after massive flooding. Water that overwhelms your well can be contaminated with harmful pathogens that can cause disease, particularly in young children and the elderly. If you experience flooding, be sure to get drinking water testing done before using water straight out of the tap. E. Coli and Shigella are often found in contaminated water.
Before your drinking water testing is completed, you should get your water from a safe source, such as pre-packaged water bottles. If you are not able to purchase drinking water, you can use your tap water, but you must boil the water for at least one minute before using it for cooking or drinking. Make sure that you use safe water to wash your hands, prepare food, and mix infant formula. If your water smells of petroleum or any other chemical, do not use your water for any purpose until your water supply has been decontaminated.
Remember that many pathogens are colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so don’t trust the look and taste of your water; get it tested, to be sure that it is safe. If your home has experienced flooding and you get your water from a well, have the water tested.