With New Hampshire still reeling from intense rains and floods, state officials are now warning people that the water in their private wells and local swimming areas could be unsafe.
About half of New Hampshire residents rely on wells as their primary water source. Brandon Kernen, with the drinking water division at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, said if flood waters reached the inside of your well, you should not consume the water until it gets tested for potential contaminants.
“Bacteria is really the first and foremost concern because it’s the most probable contaminant during extreme storm events, and it can then have an acute health effect,” Kernen said.
He said people can seek private lab testing, or reach out to the state lab in Concord, which will also offer advice on how to disinfect your well. And you’ll want to be extra careful, he said, while waiting to receive your results, or if bacteria is detected.
“[Residents] should either boil the water or use bottled water until the well’s been disinfected, he said. ”[You] can still use it for sanitary purposes, for toilets and bathing, but you do not want to ingest that water if it has been found to have bacteria in it.”
E. coli poisoning is one of the potential health consequences of consuming contaminated water, he said.
While stormwater runoff can carry a whole host of toxins into local wells, he also said the recent uptick in precipitation, combined with high temperatures, can cause bacteria that’s already present to increase exponentially.
Source : NHPR