Free well-water testing for people affected by flooding

Tribune-Post Staff
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Free well water bacterial testing will be conducted for private well owners who have been directly affected by recent flooding.

The Department of Environment and Local Government will test the water quality of private wells for bacterial analysis at no charge for those affected by the recent flooding. Residents will need to supply a property identification number (PID - which is found on your property tax bill) and should have their damages already registered with Service New Brunswick.

Since flooding has been occurring at various locations and at different times, New Brunswickers are reminded they must wait 10 days after water has receded before beginning the chlorination and sampling process.

Beginning May 6, water sampling kits can be picked up at the nearest Service New Brunswick Centre and regional offices of the Department of Environment and Local Government. Water samples will be sent to the provincial laboratory in Fredericton for testing and results will be made available to well owners.

To be safe and avoid health risks, private water supplies affected by flooding should not be used until they have been disinfected and tested. Until tests indicate a safe water supply, water for drinking and personal use should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute, then stored in clean containers.

In addition, private well owners who suspect any other type of contamination (ie. furnace oil, gasoline or agricultural chemicals) should contact their regional Department of Environment and Local Government office for follow-up.

Since well water samples cannot be taken or analyzed until the water has been flushed of chlorine, the department recommends well owners follow these steps:

– 10 days after water has receded in your area, chlorinate your well using the Department of Environment and Local Government guide, How to Chlorinate Your Well Water. This document may be found on the department's website; obtained at the department's regional offices; or by calling 506-453-3700.

– After chlorinating and subsequently flushing your water system, wait seven days before collecting a water sample for analysis.

– Sample kits may be obtained from and returned to the locations listed above.

– Sample your well water according to kit instructions.

– Ensure that you have your PID number and, if possible, a well identification number if the well was constructed in 1994 or after.

Upon receipt at the lab, bacteriological analysis and reporting can take up to four business days. If analysis does not show the presence of bacteria, residents will be notified via mail by the department.

The Department of Health will be contacted if the laboratory analysis detects any harmful contamination, and will notify private well owners of the results.

All owners of private wells are advised that their water should be tested twice a year for bacterial analysis, in the spring and fall, to help ensure safety.

Organizations: Department of Environment and Local Government, Service New Brunswick, Department of Health

Geographic location: Fredericton

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