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Power Outages May Affect your Well Water


December 14, 2009 

Leominster, MA: Homeowners with private water wells experiencing power loss during the recent power outages in the area may be at risk. Emergencies such as power outages can threaten the quality of drinking water from your water well system. 

Under normal circumstances, an electric water pump draws groundwater from the well and maintains the water pressure within the storage tank and piping. Pressurization forms a physical barrier that protects the drinking water from allowing contaminants to enter. During a power outage, a water well system will loose pressure if faucets are opened. As a result, bacteria, viruses, and other disease causing organisms can find their way into the water system. The water can become contaminated without any noticeable change in taste, odor, or clarity. During extended power outages it is important to refrain from opening faucets, taking showers, or flushing toilets. While your water system may have several gallons of water in storage, withdrawing water while the power is out depressurizes the system and increases the risk of contamination. 

 If your water system loses all of its pressure and no water comes out of the faucets, it is important to check the water quality before continuing to consume the water. It may also be advisable to disinfect your well to ensure that your family has a safe drinking water supply. Those who have private wells and have been without power, and who have private treatment systems for their drinking water should ensure their system is running properly once the power is restored. Before drinking the water, flush all lines letting the water run for a few minutes. 

 If there are concerns that the treatment system is not functioning properly, water should be tested before drinking it. All homeowners using private wells are encouraged to test the water at least once a year, regardless of any power interruption. For homeowners who do not know the past history of their well or who have lingering concerns about their water quality they may choose to have their well tested at this time. 

 For assistance in protecting your private water supply in an emergency and/or to obtain water testing and well disinfection kits, contact ETR Laboratories by calling 1.800.344.9977 or on the web at

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