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Safety precautions for users of wells and septic systems during flooding

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health advises users of wells, shore wells, and septic systems that the risk of contamination to wells and shore wells is high when flooding occurs. Septic systems can also be adversely affected.

In a statement Wednesay, the HPEPH noted water from wells and shore wells may not be safe to drink if the well has been flooded. Residents are advised not to drink the water from any well that has been flooded. Boiling this water will not remove chemical contaminants.

Once flood levels have receded, well users are advised to test their drinking water to ensure it is safe. Until then, residents are advised to use another known safe supply of drinking water, such as bottled water. If drinking water is supplied by a municipal well, residents are advised to contact their municipality if they have any concerns.

If a septic system has been flooded, it is recommended that users decrease water use in order to prevent sewage back up into the home or the introduction of pollution into the environment.

Septic system users are reminded not to pump out septic tanks during a flood, and to stay off the soil absorption field. These activities can compact the soil, reducing the ability of the system to treat waste water and potentially lead to system failure. For further information about septic system safety, residents are advised to contact their local municipality.

“We are asking users of wells, shore wells, and septic systems to take steps to protect their health and the environment while the area is experiencing high water levels,” said Andrew Landy, Senior Public Health Inspector. “We are also encouraging residents to reach out to neighbours that may not receive this message or be aware of these precautions.”

For further information, visit the website at www.hpepublichealth.ca or call 613-966-5500.

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