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Flooding could potentially damage private wells, groundwater group says

flood waters by a home with for lease sign in front
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Ground Water Association is urging private well owners to have their wells inspected if they live in an area that was flooded this week.

Earlier this week, heavy rains and two failed dams led to flooding in Midland County and neighboring areas. Thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate their homes.

David Schulenberg is the chairman of the Michigan Ground Water Association. He says contaminants from the Titabawassee River, which runs through Midland County, including harmful pathogens like E. coli, could get into groundwater and contaminate wells.

“In this instance, where you have things going through a city water treatment area, chemical plants, holding ponds, et cetera, all of that mixes into that flooding stew, so to speak,” Schulenberg said.

He says private well owners shouldn’t use their wells for drinking or washing anything.

“Water wells are specialized systems that require knowledge and expertise to repair and disinfect. If your well has been flooded, use bottled water or boil your water until a qualified water well system contractor can check out your well system.

“You can use it once you have a qualified water well contractor or pump installer clean and turn on the pump. They want to flush the well, disinfect the well, and take a look at any other maintenance that might be necessary that a flooding situation may have caused.”

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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