News Alert: Health Department Advises Residents Using Private Wells in Hurricane-Affected Areas of Risks, Testing Options
Posted: 9/5/2012 2:27:40 PM
Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center



September 5, 2012

State of Louisiana News Desk #: 225.358.5361

BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals advises Louisiana
residents in the parishes affected by Hurricane Isaac who use private wells for
their drinking water systems to take water safety precautions if their wells
flooded during the storm.

DHH is responsible for regularly
testing public drinking water systems, but does not have oversight of private
well systems. The well owners are responsible for testing and monitoring their

If a homeowner's water well was flooded during Hurricane Isaac, the well owner
should disinfect the well using a chlorine bleach solution following
recommended Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. The owner should then
flush the well.

If well owners wish to have their
water tested for contamination, there are private laboratories throughout the
state that are certified to test drinking water samples and will perform this
service for a fee. DHH has a list of state-certified drinking water
laboratories available online at
Owners should wait to submit water samples for testing until they have
disinfected and flushed the well.

If the lab tests are positive for contaminants, the well owner will be advised
not to consume the water (e.g. drinking, brushing teeth, cooking with it) until
the water has been boiled or chemically disinfected.

Residents who use private wells can
have health department staff conduct tests for $40. To do this, the well owner
should collect a water sample from the well after it has been disinfected and
flushed, and must keep the water sample refrigerated or on ice until submitted.
Samples need to be delivered within 20 hours of collection.

Well owners can bring their water samples to the nearest parish health unit,
and can contact the health unit for information about the designated collection
days at that location. DHH will then test the water samples through its State
Office of Public Health Laboratory and provide results to the well owner in
about two days.

For more information on private
well water testing, see DHH's brochure on this process or contact DHH's Safe
Drinking Water Program at 225-342-7499.

To contact your parish sanitarian
about submitting well samples to your local health unit, call 225-342-7643, or
visit DHH's list of parish health units throughout the State to find the
contact information for your local health unit.


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