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Wednesday, 13 April 2011 05:46

Private drinking wells should be tested due to spring run-off

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Saskatchewan Environment

The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority and Ministry of Health warn that heightened risk of flooding in many parts of the province this spring may pose a threat to private water wells and cisterns used for drinking water sources. Residents who consume water from private supplies are being urged to be alert for signs of flooding which may result in contamination of their water.

As a safety measure during spring runoff, the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority is offering free testing of private wells and cisterns used as sources of drinking water that have been potentially impacted by flooding across the province.

Individuals eligible for the no-cost testing of bacteria and nitrate by the Watershed Authority must be using private well water or cisterns as a source of drinking water, suspect the water source has been impacted by heavy run-off or flooding, and they must shock chlorinate the well prior to Authority staff collecting samples. Information on low level shock chlorination and other safety information regarding well contamination is available on the provincial flood advisory website

People who think their private well may have been contaminated can call the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority at 1-866-837-8420 (1-866-TEST H20) to find out if they are eligible for no-cost testing. The free testing will be available from April 18 to June 1, 2011.

The Ministry of Health recommends that people use an alternate safe water source that has been deemed safe for consuming and cooking if they suspect their well or cistern water has been contaminated.

Unlike private water supplies, public supplies are routinely tested and will be closely monitored in the event of flooding. Residents whose drinking water wells are part of a public water system are advised to contact the owner/operator of that public supply.

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