Water Testing and Safety After A Flood

Stephenson County, Illinois — July 27, 2017 —  As a rural homeowner, it’s your responsibility to ensure proper functioning of your well. Flooding presents special health risks and requires extra attention for private wells. Floodwaters carry bacteria, and chemicals that can contaminate your well water.

Diseases such as dysentery, hepatitis and giardiasis can be transmitted through private wells that have been contaminated by floodwaters. Chemicals such as pesticides, solvents and petroleum-based products also pose health risks.

While tests for bacteria and nitrates can be obtained at the Stephenson County Health Department, the Stephenson County Soil and Water Conservation District is offering tests for Pesticide Screens, Nitrates, and Metals.

Do You Need to Test Your Water?

The signs of drinking water contamination are not always obvious. Contaminated water does not always look, taste, or smell differently than safe drinking water. What’s more, if you have a private water supply, such as a well, you are your own regulatory agency. You are responsible for the quality of water that your family drinks.

These are all good reasons why testing the water regularly are an important consideration for people who have their own water supply.

So how do you know whether you need to test your water or not?

 Do you have recurrent gastrointestinal illnesses?
 Are you buying a home and wish to evaluate the safety and quality of the water?
 Do you have water stains on plumbing and laundry?
 Water appears frothy, cloudy, or colored.
 Your water-supply equipment wears rapidly.
 Are you pregnant, anticipating a pregnancy, or have an infant less than six months old?

If any of these conditions exist, you may want to take advantage of the Soil and Water District’s low cost testing program. You can purchase water test kits at the SWCD Office Monday – Friday, August 7-14. Collect water samples on either Monday or Tuesday, August 14 or 15. Return water samples to the SWCD Office by 3:00 pm Tuesday, August 15. The results will be mailed directly to you. For more information, call Lorna at 815-235-2161 ext. 3.

From the Stephenson Soil & Water Conservation District and the Stephenson County Farm Bureau

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