Vermonters Urged to Follow Drinking Water Guidelines in Flooded Areas

Wells in flooded areas are likely contaminated

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2011
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Private well owners in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties in northern Vermont, and other areas of the state whose wells have been impacted by flooding are advised by the Vermont Department of Health to bring their water to a rolling boil for one minute, or to use bottled water, or water from a known safe source.

These precautions should be followed until the flood waters recede, the well has been disinfected, the bleach odor has worn off and a follow up bacterial test confirms it is safe.

Well owners impacted by flooding should assume their water is contaminated with microorganisms, such as bacteria, and the water may not be safe to drink, brush teeth, make juice or ice, or prepare food with, if the well is close to, or within a flooded area.

Precautions should also be taken if there has been a change in well water quality (odor or taste).

A chlorine bleach solution should be used to disinfect your water supply if a water test shows contamination. For a free water bacterial testing kit, contact your Town Health Officer or your local District Office of the Vermont Department of Health.

For more information on how to disinfect your water supply, and other water guidelines after a flood visit: http://www.healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/flood_water.aspx.

After persistent rainfall this week, the National Weather Service reported today it is optimistic that the record level of Lake Champlain (more than 3 feet above flood levels) will peak in the next 48 hours and will begin to recede next week. 

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