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Contact(s): Liesa Lehmann, DNR private water section chief, 608-267-7649,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,
March 22, 2016

Well owners encouraged to pay attention to their drinking water

MADISON -- As spring approaches, warming temperatures, snow melt, residual frozen ground and rain can create conditions that may affect private wells and drinking water.

"Now is the time of year for well owners to watch for signs of flooding and note any change in the color, smell or taste of their drinking water," said Liesa Lehmann, private water section chief with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Owners who see flood waters very near or over their wells should assume their water could be contaminated. Take the following steps:

Flood waters and rain runoff may contain bacteria and other contaminants that can affect water supplies and cause illness. Wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination.

"Disinfection and sampling is best done by a licensed well driller or pump installer," Lehmann said. "Any water supply system that has been submerged by flood waters should be pumped out once the floodwater recedes, then thoroughly disinfected and tested to determine that the water is safe."

To ensure safe drinking water, well owners are encouraged to make sure they have a properly constructed well and test it annually for bacteria. More information on bacteriological contamination of drinking water wells, along with lists of licensed well drillers, pump installers and labs certified to analyze water samples can be found by searching the DNR website,, for keyword "wells."

For individuals who receive drinking water from a public water supply, these systems are designed and operated to keep out contaminants. If you have concerns about the safety of your community's drinking water, contact your public water supplier.

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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