Well Water Construction
Florida geology makes groundwater especially susceptible to chemical pollutants and disease- causing organisms. Groundwater flows through underground streams called aquifers. If the water flows through loose soil, sand, or gravel it is an unconfined aquifer. If the water flows between relatively impervious layers of clay or lime rock it is a confined aquifer.
Shallow wells are typically set into unconfined sand and gravel aquifers. These offer very little protection from the migration of chemicals and microorganisms. Deep wells that are installed through confining layers offer better protection, but contaminants may eventually find their way through small fissures and cracks in clay or limestone. Sinkholes and improperly abandoned wells offer direct pipelines for contaminants into deep aquifers.
The best protection is to be aware of and eliminate direct sources of contamination. Required setback distances have been established to reduce potential for contamination to potable water wells. But potable water system owners should also test their drinking water at least annually and any time there is a noticeable change in water quality.
The construction of drinking water supply wells is regulated by Chapter 62-532 (24.6 MB PDF) of the Florida Administrative Code, adopted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The rule is typically implemented by the five water management districts that issue the well construction permits. However, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has delegated the authority to the Glades County Health Department.
- Well Application Checklist (Word Document 32 KB)
- EPA Drinking Water Well Brochure (PDF File 1,648 KB)
What should I do if my well is flooded?
In general, if floodwaters have reached you well, or if you notice any change in the appearance or taste of your water, or even if you are unsure about the impact of flooding on the water quality in your area, you should boil all of the water used for drinking, making beverages or ice, cooking, brushing your teeth, washing dishes and washing areas of the skin that have been cut or injured (be sure to cool the water first). The water should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one full minute. Bottled water may also be used for these purposes.
Is my water safe to drink after the flooding subsides?
NO if your well has been flooded, you must first disinfect it and contact the Health Department for information on how to sample your water, and where to bring the for bacteriological testing.
How do I disinfect my well?
It is important to disinfect both the well and all of the household plumbing to assure that all the infectious agents are killed. Both the amount of chlorine and the amount of time you allow it to remain in your system are important considerations. If the water is discolored, run the water until it is clear before starting the disinfection process.
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