Record flooding in the Midwest is now threatening the safety of more than a million private water wells. The National Ground Water Association estimates that people living in more than 300 counties across 10 states have their groundwater threatened from bacterial and industrial contamination carried by flood waters.
The 10 states include: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
"The most immediate concern is that the flood waters are contaminated with anything they have picked up and moving across the ground," said Chuck Job, NGWA’s regulatory affairs manager.
Floods carry health concerns
The high waters can carry bacterial contamination from flooded waste water treatment plants, septic tank systems, or animal waste from farms. Pesticide residues, oil and gasoline can also be mixed into the waters. "Depending on the extent of the severity of the flooding, those flood waters will contain a lot of potentially harmful chemicals as well," said Kevin Masarik of the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Masarik is a groundwater outreach specialist at the school’s Center for Watershed Science & Education.
When it comes to drinking water, Masarik said the most immediate concern is the presence […]