Private Well Owners Encouraged to Check Wells After Recent Flooding in Northern Wisconsin

MADISON – Recent heavy rains in many northern Wisconsin counties have affected private property owners and state properties.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is offering the guidance below as many property owners will begin assessing damage, checking wells and septic systems and removing storm related debris. In particular, heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water.

Private wells and drinking water

Floodwaters and runoff may affect private wells. Well owners who observe flooding or changes in their water should assume their wells are contaminated and should stop drinking the water.

Homeowners are encouraged to make sure their wells are properly disinfected, then sample the well after pumping and disinfection to assure the water is safe.

Wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination.

Even without obvious signs of flooding, a well can become contaminated. More recommendations for private well owners whose wells have been inundated are available on the DNR website.

More information on bacteriological contamination of drinking water wells, along with lists of licensed well drillers, pump installer and labs certified to analyze water samples are available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for the keyword “wells.”

Handling debris

DNR has compiled information on how to dispose of specific materials and items. Visit Cleaning up storm debris for more information. You can also contact local authorities to find out if there are special arrangements or resources for cleaning up and disposing of storm and flood debris.

Septic systems

Septic systems are regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Look for more information at DSPS.wi.gov, search “private onsite wastewater treatment systems.”

Floodwaters

People and pets are advised to limit contact and avoid swimming or wading in flood waters and runoff, which may contain bacteria and other contaminants.

Additional information for those affected by the flooding can be found on DNR’s website by searching “Coping with Flooding.” The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also provides information and links to resources on its Flood Hazards and Recovery page: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/flood/.

CONTACTS

Stacy Steinke | DNR Private Water Supply Specialist | 715-839-3773 | stacyj.steinke@wisconsin.gov 

Marty Nessman | DNR Private Water Supply Field Supervisor | 608-267-2449 | martin.nessman@wisconsin.gov