Heavy rains and flooding continues to affect Wisconsin residents after it was reported that parts of five rivers in the state were still about their banks as of mid-day Tuesday.
With high water levels, the Wisconsin DNR is offering guidance for property owners, in particular the heavy rains that create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water.
“If anybody has observed flood water going past their well, or covering the top of their well, they should avoid drinking the water until the flood waters have receded and they get a chance to disinfect their well,” said Liesa Lehmann, a DNR private water supply section chief. “You should just assume it’s contaminated.”
Lehmann encourages well owners to hire a licensed well professional in the event of a contaminated well, which takes a process of a little over 24 hours.
Overall, not all bacteria in the water is considered bad for you, but there are some that can make you sick.
“Fecal bacteria, or things like E. Coli, or microorganisms that can make people sick and it’s typically going to be digestive system, intestinal illnesses that are typically caused from drinking bacteria contaminated water,” she explained.
Even without obvious signs of flooding, a well can become contaminated. More recommendations for private well owners whose wells have been flooded can be found here on the DNR’s website.
Flood Damage Estimates Keep Rising
Damage estimates continue to rise from last week’s flooding in western and southwest Wisconsin.
Five homes were destroyed in Grant County, where Cassville had up to ten inches of rain last Saturday and Wisconsin Emergency Management now reports 19 homes with major damage and 60 homes with minor problems in Grant, Iowa, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties.
More than $13.6 million dollars of damage has been tallied for roads and other public infrastructure.
More heavy rains and possible floods are in the forecast for later today and Wednesday night in all of Wisconsin except the northwest areas.