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Water Well Cleaning For Homeowners With Bacterial Contamination Problems

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If you recently tested your home's well water and discovered it is contaminated by bacteria, then it needs to be cleaned. Well cleaning is typically accomplished by chlorinating the entire system. Chlorinating, often referred to as shocking a well, is the process of adding chlorine bleach to a water well to kill any bacterial contamination within it.

You can have the well professionally cleaned, or you can do it yourself using the following procedure:

Step 1: Dig Out the Well Head and Remove Its Cover

Locate the wellhead and dig it out of the ground if necessary. 

Remove the well cap by removing the bolts. Put the bolts in a safe place so they don't get lost in the dirt while you work.

Step 2: Dump a Gallon of Chlorine Bleach Down the Bore

Dump one gallon of chlorine bleach down into the well's borehole. 

Step 3: Spread the Chlorinated Water Throughout Your Water System

Once the well is full of bleach, walk around inside and outside of your home and open up each of the water taps. Let the water run at each location until you can smell the bleach. Once you smell bleach, then turn off the tap and move to the next one.

If you stop smelling bleach when opening taps, then go back to the well and add another gallon of bleach before continuing.

This procedure spreads bleach to each pipe in your home's water system and decontaminates it by killing bacteria. 

Step 4: Spray Down the Inside of the Well Casing and the Bore's Cap

If you are able to reach the well with a garden hose, then use it to spray down the inside of the borehole and clean off the cap while the well is still producing water with bleach.

Step 5: Retest the Water Once the Water is Free of Chlorine

Before you have your water retested for bacterial contamination by a professional lab, first, you need to ensure all of the bleach is gone. The easiest way to do so is to test some of your household water with a pool test kit. 

Once there is no chlorine showing on the pool test kit, then it's time to have the water retested. If the contamination is gone, then wonderful! If not, repeat the procedure until it is.

Step 6: Replace The Well System's Sediment Filter

Lastly, if your home's water system has a sediment filter to remove silt and minerals from the well water, then it's important you change the filter after chlorinating. When you dump the chlorine down the well it will bring up minerals and silt in the water so the filter needs replacement now that the process is completed.