Clemson Extension: Protect wells prior to flooding from Florence


With possible flooding in the path of Hurricane Florence, Clemson Extension is advising residents who rely on well water to protect that water source, even if they plan to evacuate.

Clemson Extension is offering a fact sheet titled "How to prepare your well for the next flood: evacuation preparations and return home" that includes how to prepare wells during evacuation preparations and after returning home.

"This fact sheet contains some easy steps you can take before a potential flood that will protect you in the event that your well is submerged," said Cal Sawyer, water resources specialist, in a news release.

One of the most important steps is to store bottled water for drinking and cooking because if a well is submerged, even temporarily, the water will not be usable until it is tested, states the release.

Other steps include:

* Locating the nearest regional Department of Health and Environmental Control Environmental Affairs office to get sample collection bottles and instructions to test well water prior to evacuation;

* Protecting a copy of the report that was completed when the well was installed;

 * Gathering contact information for licensed well drillers in the area;

 * Filling up the well's pressure tank as much as possible; and

 * Turning off electricity to wells and aerobic septic systems. No special preparations are recommended for conventional septic systems.

Residents who plan to try to disinfect wells themselves after returning, should have the following basic shock chlorination materials available before evacuating because supplies may be difficult to get following a flood:

* Unscented, household liquid bleach;

 * A five-gallon bucket and five gallons of uncontaminated water;

 * A garden hose that can reach the well;

 * Protective goggles and gloves;

 * A wrench for well access;

 * A funnel; and

 Sample collection bottles from regional DHEC Environmental Affairs office.

For step-by-step instructions on the disinfection process, visit

Clemson Extension also encourages residents to have manufacturer's instructions available to learn how to bypass water softeners and household water filters if any are attached to the water system.