Flooding threatens more than 1M private wells in Midwest

Flooding in the Midwest is posing a risk of contamination to more than 1 million private wells that supply drinking water to rural areas in the region, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The AP reported that the National Ground Water Association, a trade group, said there are 1.1 million private wells in 300 flooded counties across 10 states in the Midwest. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Those states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to the AP.

Flooding creates the possibility that water from the flood will get into the wells and contaminate the water. 

Liesa Lehmann, the private-water section chief for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told the AP that any wells within a flood area "are certainly going to be vulnerable to contamination."

"Anyone who has a private well within a flood plain area of a major river, those wells are certainly going to be vulnerable to contamination," Lehmann said.

Lehmann added that well owners should assume that their drinking water is contaminated if they see floodwater near or over their wells.

Chuck Job, the National Ground Water Association's regulatory affairs manager, told the AP that when the flooding is over, the well water should be pumped out and the well should be disinfected. The water should then be tested to ensure that it's safe to drink, Job added.