A Flood Could Contaminate Your Drinking Water

One of the most widespread and common types of natural disaster is flooding. Many communities have to deal with some flooding after a heavy rainfall or thawing in spring and winter. Aside from the myriad of problems caused by flooding, there is another dangerous threat to our drinking water supply. Floodwater, can pick up contaminants, transfer it into our potable water and make people sick. The composition of these contaminants can vary a great deal depending on the local conditions. Let’s take a closer look at flooding and how you can prepare for this eventuality. water-1370297

How Flooding Contaminates Drinking Water: 

When flooding occurs, the increased flow of water makes water sources, such as streams and rivers, cloudy or turbid. This turbidity could be composed of materials, such as dirt, debris, organic matter, chemical runoff, mineral deposits, and pesticides. When the levels of turbidity are increased, water treatment plants are less able to treat the water and cope with the demands. The procedure, in this case, is to switch over to an emergency water source or storage capacity. The public may be asked to conserve water and this can be confusing when there seems to be water in abundance during a flood. Even if the water treatment plant can overcome the turbidity problem, there may be a change in the level of disinfection, and this can alter the taste and odor of the water. 

Strategies to Deal with Contaminated Water: 

Thanks to modern weather forecasting technology, it’s likely, that you will receive some advance warning of a potential flood. Anticipate that there may be a biological or chemical contamination to your drinking water and make some preparations. You will need coliform sample bottles on hand to check your drinking water quality daily when it’s safe to access your system.  

If you disinfect your water at home with chlorine, you may want to increase the chlorine levels until the flooding has subsided. This will help you to disinfect the water more effectively and make it easier to monitor your chlorine residual levels. If the chlorine residual drops, this may be an indication the contaminated water is present in your system.  

For those without additional water treatment filtration systems in place, it may be a good idea to boil all of your drinking water. A rolling boil for at least one minute will kill most types of harmful bacteria. It’s also a good idea to have plenty of bottled water on hand if your water quality is severely compromised. 

If you want to know more about preparing your home to deal with contaminated water, speak to a local water treatment specialist. There are many different types of filtration systems available to handle a wide variety of water quality issues. Ensure that you choose a professional who has full WQA certification and understands the local water issues. Then you can be sure that they will offer quality advice, this will help you to receive water that meets and even exceeds water industry standards.

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.  

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