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How to Ensure Your Water is Safe to Drink After a Flood


Massive floods and enormous hurricanes like the residents of Texas and Florida have just experienced have the power to decimate communities. In the aftermath of extreme flooding septic issues, piping damage, and structural destruction can compromise the quality of the water supply. There’s water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

If you live in Houston, Florida, or in any area affected by Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma here’s what you should do to ensure your water is safe to drink.

Use Stored Water

If you have space in your home you should store enough water to last your family seven days in an emergency situation. After a flood use this supply of water in your home for drinking and for cooking until you can verify that your tap water is safe. Power outages after the flood can affect the cleanliness of your water.

Test Your Well Water

Well owners are responsible for the repair and the treatment of their own wells. Flooding can cause a host of problems with well water. Agricultural runoff, sewage, bacteria, and chemicals can make their way into your well and must be identified before treatment. Washout from the flood in your area means anything could be lurking in your well.

Contact your local county health department if you own a well to inquire about free testing. Get information regarding the waiting period. If your county officials are overwhelmed with demand and your well cannot be tested right away consider ordering a well testing kit from Pelican Water as an alternative.

The WaterCheck 32 is the most thorough testing kit we offer, and after an event as devastating as Hurricane Harvey you’ll want to check for every possible contaminant. Once you’ve discovered what contaminants are in your well read page 7 of this flood packet for general treatment, and call Pelican Water to install the appropriate filter system.

Disinfect Your Water Filter

If you have a water filter system installed in your home this does not guarantee that your water will be safe to drink. The systems could be infected or compromised due to the extreme nature of the flooding.

Read our guide to learn how to disinfect your water filter systems, whether you own a water softener, carbon-based filter, or a reverse osmosis filter system. Do not assume your water filter is working properly until you have completely disinfected the unit.

Heed Boil Water Alerts

Hurricane Harvey affected a large geographical area. Depending on where you live your local municipality may have issued a boil water alert. These alerts should always be taken seriously to avoid major health problems stemming from contaminated drinking water.

As you can read about in our water boil alert infographic, when an alert is issued you should always boil your water before using it to drink, cook, make ice, wash dishes, or to brush your teeth. Microbe-related boil water alerts are already on the rise in the balmier summer months in areas like Texas, but with the extended damage done by Hurricane Harvey expect many boil water alerts to be issued. Determine the local authority that issues these alerts in your area.

Once the water level has lowered you and your family should still follow these guidelines and avoid drinking water from your tap until the water’s cleanliness has been verified. The Water Quality Association recommends that homeowners protect themselves by installing a water filter system.

A UV filter system is the safest and fastest filter option to treat your water in the aftermath of a flood. The safe ultraviolet light inactivates the DNA of harmful microorganisms in your water. Even with a UV system, however, you should heed the steps for disinfecting your home and your system to ensure your home is prepared for drinkable water before installing a system.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter