Floods prompt well testing in Bucks, Montco

September 15, 2011

Margaret Frey of Chalfont was among those stopping by the Bucks County Health Department today to pick up a water testing kit thanks to Tropical Storm Lee.

"I heard on the news because of all the flooding they were concerned," Frey said.

In flood prone Upper Makefield, about 90-percent of the homes have private wells and flood borne contamination is a concern.

Jamie Kelly's family has been through this before; for now they are not drinking anything from their tap.

"We're on bottled water; we, of course, have to have our well tested," Kelly said.

That is what officials advise if you fear contamination use bottled water until your well is proven to be safe.

Both Montgomery and Bucks County are offering free self testing kits.

If a well is contaminated, Bucks County Environmental Director William Roth says there is a procedure to help.

"If it is contaminated we have procedure by which you can chlorinate your well, you can basically get chlorine into your water supply and destroy bacteria in there," Roth said.

A process called shocking a well uses a calculated amount of plain diluted chlorine bleach poured into the well head; after it destroys the bacteria, the chlorine must be flushed from the system.

"That should handle the bacteria, but we retest it to make sure it did handle the problem," Roth said.

In the wake of last week's flooding, there have been positive tests for contaminated wells, but no reports of any contamination related illnesses.

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