For immediate release: September 6, 2011
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is offering free water test kits for residents with private drinking water wells that may have been contaminated with floodwaters.
“If your private drinking water well was covered with floodwater, is located very near a flooded area, or there is a change in quality – odor or taste – assume that it is contaminated, take all precautions and get it tested,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD.
Contact your Health Department district office or town health officer for a free test kit and disinfection instructions. Water samples must be submitted to the Health Department Laboratory according to instructions in the kit, and must be clearly marked “contaminated by flooding”. Be sure to write your name and address so that results will be mailed directly to you.
You can also order a test kit for a fee of $14 by calling the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory at 1-800-660-9997. A water test kit order form is also available at the Health Department website: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/ph_lab/water_test.aspx
Drinking water safety guidance for wells affected by flooding:
- Until a test confirms that your water is safe, boil water for one minute before use in drinking, cooking, making juice or ice, washing fruits and vegetables and brushing teeth.
- Shower with caution when on a boil-water notice. Avoid getting water in eyes, mouth and wounds. Do not allow children to swallow bath water if on a boil-water notice.
- If there is a smell of petroleum or fuel, do not drink or use water at all for cooking, bathing or washing. Use bottled water or water from a known safe source. Call 1-800-439-8550 for consultation and testing information.
- Residents who get their drinking water from a public system should look for boil water or other instructions put out by their own system.
For more information about drinking water safety after a flood, go to the Health Department’s website anytime at www.healthvermont.gov or call the Health Department’s drinking water program at 1-800-439-8550 (toll-free) during regular business hours.