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Free water testing for Collier private well owners

Posted at 10:54 PM, Mar 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 22:54:04-05

NAPLES, Fla. --- The Florida Department of Health in Collier County is offering free water sample testing in recognition of National Groundwater Awareness Week. 

Sample testing is available for residents whose drinking water source is a private well and will begin March 12. DOH-Collier Environmental Health staff will be at Max Hasse Park from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and sample kits may also be picked up and dropped off at the DOH-Collier Environment Health Office from 8 a.n. to 5 p.m. 

There will only be one free sample kit given to each customer. 

Residents are encouraged to disinfect their wells prior to sampling and should use unscented bleach to ensure all bacteria are killed prior ro sampling. If homeowners treatment system has membranes, filters or cartridges, those should be removed; replace with new ones after completing the disinfection process. 

DOH-Collier recommends the following steps to disinfect a well: 

  • Obtain 1—2 gallons of bleach.  Unscented household bleach or liquid pool chlorine can be used. 
  • Turn off and drain your hot water heater.  Chlorine is not effective in water above 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Clean the top of your well head with a solution of bleach and water (1/2 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water).  This will remove any contaminants on your well head prior to opening the plug.
  • Remove the plastic plug (usually yellow, white or blue in color) from the top of your well head.  Make sure you keep the plug to re-seal the well head afterwards.
  • Pour the bleach directly down the well itself.  If you are able, try to coat the casing of the well with bleach.  Depending on the size of the opening, you may need to use a funnel to pour the bleach.  Re-plug the opening afterward. 
  • By-pass any treatment systems you have, such as filters, softeners, permanganate systems, etc.  Bleach will eat away at the filtration mechanisms within the system.  Most treatment tanks have the by-pass valves at the top of the tank.  If you cannot by-pass the tanks, contact the manufacturer of the tank for instructions.
  • Turn on your cold water faucets, including sinks, showers and outside spigots and allow the water to run until you can smell bleach.
  • Turn off the water and allow the water to sit in the pipes undisturbed for 12—18 hours to allow bleach to kill any bacteria present in the water.
  • After the water sits for 12—18 hours, turn the cold water on, starting with your outside spigots, and allow the water to run until the bleach smell has dissipated.  This may take up to 30 minutes to complete.

National Groundwater Awareness Week is an annual event sponsored by the National Groundwater Association to promote education and awareness about groundwater. 

For more information contact DOH-Collier at (239) 776-2630.