Individual water wells may not be okay to drink from - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Individual water wells may not be okay to drink from

By Mystic Matthews

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When you live inside the city limits, you know your drinking water is okay because if it wasn't, city officials would tell you. 

But after Hurricane Ike, people who have individual wells could be in danger.  But officials say there's no need to panic. 

"Our lab is certified by the state for bacterial testing of the water. So we are running tests to determine if water is contaminated by total CoIiform or E. Coli bacteria."

Brian Sims with the Angelina & Neches River Authority says if you have bacteria in the water, there is an easy fix.

"By putting the Chlorine in there, and giving it sufficient time, it should kill all the bacteria that are present," says Sims, who is the Laboratory Manager at the ANRA. 

Sims says when something comes through, like a hurricane, the groundwater could be contaminated.

"For a private well, it's recommended to test it once a year. But after a heavy storm like this, you never know what could have gotten down in there," says Sims.

Even though families with individual water wells are responsible for checking them, the ANRA is here to help.

"In most cases people are fine, but if you lost power at your well for an extended period, the well flooded, or had damage to it, flood water may have entered the well and bacteria could be in there. It's recommended that you chlorinate the well, then collect samples to determine if any bacteria are present," says Sims.

The ANRA is testing water samples for $13.00. If the water turns a clear yellow, it's safe to use.  But if it turns a cloudy yellow that means bacteria is present.

For anyone who had a problem with their well during the storm, the ANRA recommends boiling water until it can be tested.  But they ask you to go by the ANRA in Lufkin and get a container for the sample first.  They are open Monday through Friday from 8am-4pm.

For more detailed instructions about getting the water analyzed, go to ANRA.org.  For details about when to disinfect a well, go to the TCEQ website.  For a how-to guide in disinfecting a well,  click here.  For a list of approved bleach, click here.

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