Linn County Public Health is issuing guidance to homeowners with private wells and septic systems that may have been impacted by flood waters.
Private Well Guidance:
Residents who obtain their water from a well that is currently flooded or has been exposed to flooding conditions should not drink or wash with the well water until it has been tested to be safe. If flood waters have breached the top of your well casing, contact a certified well contractor for assistance. Do not attempt to use the well or perform work on the well yourself.
Water sample containers and instruction sheets are available at the following locations:
• City Hall in Central City – 137 4th Street N, Central City (319-438-1713)
• City Hall in Palo – 2800 Hollenbeck Rd, Palo (319-851-2731)
• Linn County Public Health – 501 13th Street NW, Cedar Rapids (319-892-6000)
Free testing is available to residences in which flood waters have reached the well. Wells that qualify for free testing can drop off water sample containers Monday through Thursday before 1:00 pm at the City Hall offices of Central City and Palo (from October 3 – October 13, 2016). All other well water sample containers may be dropped off at Linn County Public Health Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Do not attempt to test any flood affected well until flood waters subside. Find additional private well flooding guideline here: http://ia-linncounty.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/4628
Septic System Guidance:
Residents in flood impacted areas with a septic system should not use the sewage system until water in the drain field is lower than the water level around the house. Septic tanks should be pumped as soon as possible after the flood to remove silt and debris that may have washed into the system. Do not pump the tank during flooded or saturated drain field conditions.
Have your septic tank professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage. Signs of damage include settling or an inability to accept water. Most septic tanks are not damaged by flooding since they are below ground and are completely covered. However, septic tanks and pump chambers can fill with silt and debris, and must be professionally cleaned. If sewage has backed up into the basement, remove porous moldy material, clean the area with soap and water, disinfect the surfaces with a chlorine solution (1 cup of chlorine bleach to each gallon of water), and ventilate throughout the process.
If you have questions, please call Linn County Public Health at (319) 892-6000.