Disinfecting a Water Well at your home

A private water well often becomes contaminated with bacteria and chemicals, since it doesn’t receive treatment from a municipality. That means you have to perform your own disinfection when you use water from your own well. The following steps show how any homeowner with basic home-improvement skills can disinfect a private well.

Step 1. Prepare the well.

Set any water softeners or filtration systems on bypass mode to prevent the disinfectant from entering these systems. Remove the well cap, and turn the pump off.

Step 2. Add the disinfectant.

Pour two gallons of un-perfumed household bleach directly into the well, ensuring that you pour it around the entire inner surface of the pipe. Pour four gallons of vinegar into the well using the same technique. If you need to use more bleach and vinegar to disinfect a well deeper than 150 feet, ensure that you maintain a ratio of one part bleach to two parts vinegar.

Step 3. Circulate the disinfectant.

Connect a hose to an outside water faucet, and place the open end into the well casing. Turn the pump on. Run the water until you can smell bleach, and continue to run the water for another 15 minutes. Ensure that you cover the entire inside casing with water to disinfect any contamination on the surface of the casing.

Remove the hose from the well casing, and replace the well cap. Turn the water off on the outside faucet.

Run water through a plumbing fixture one at a time until you smell bleach. Shut the water off for that fixture. Repeat this procedure for each fixture until your entire plumbing system contains disinfectant.

Step 4. Disinfect the water.

Close all of the water valves in your house and allow the disinfectant to sit in your plumbing system undisturbed. The Fairfield Department of Health recommends a minimum disinfection period of 24 hours. Ensure that you don’t use any of your plumbing fixtures during this period.

Step 5. Flush the plumbing.

Place the open end of your garden hose into a drainage ditch. Turn the water on and allow it to run until you no longer smell bleach. Open all of the water valves in your house and allow water to run through each fixture until you stop smelling bleach.

Test your water with chlorine strips to ensure that your water is safe to drink. Set your water filters and softeners back to active use.

Contact a local contractor that specializes in digging water wells if you need help with disinfecting your well water. These contractors can also dig wells and service well pumps.