The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) wants private well owners to be aware of safety concerns due to the continued flooding in the state. Private wells that have flooded (wells that have standing water around them) should be considered contaminated. People with flooded wells should take the following precautions:
-boil water for one minute before drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth.
-get well water tested for coliform bacteria as soon as possible. As list of certified laboratories that provide testing can be found on HEALTH's website at: http://www.health.ri.gov/labs/waterlabs.php Lab tests usually take about three days but it may take longer for you to get the results depending on which lab you use. Continue to boil water until you get your test results back and the water has been deemed safe for consumption.
-once flood waters have receded, your well will need to be disinfected with chlorine and tested before you begin drinking it again.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website provides instructions on how to disinfect a well that has been flooded and other useful safety information: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells/whatdo.html
For additional information about private wells, visit HEALTH's website at http://www.health.ri.gov/environment/dwq/privatewell.php
Currently, there are no Boil Water Advisories for public water systems related to the flooding. Check HEALTH's website (http://www.health.ri.gov) for any Boil Water Advisories that may be enacted.