The owners of private household water wells in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey flooding should act to address possible threats to their drinking water quality, the National Ground Water Association said today.

If a well has been flooded:

Do not drink the water or wash with it, but use an alternative supply such as bottled water Stay away from the well pump while it’s flooded to avoid electrical shock Get a qualified water well contractor or pump installer to — Clean and turn on the pump Flush the well Disinfect the well Perform any other necessary maintenance Check with the local emergency management agency about any guidance relating to local conditions or specific contamination threats due to area flooding.

Bacterial contamination is to be expected in a flooded well, so disinfection of the well system after it has been pumped out and cleaned will be necessary, said Cliff Treyens, NGWA director of general public outreach. NGWA recommends that water well system professionals be used to assess and service the well.