We all can do our part for the planet

If Your Private Well Has Been Flooded…

by Catherine Magliocchetti

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region is home to millions of residents who rely upon private wells for their drinking water supply.  As local conditions and weather may present the prospect of moderate and major flood conditions for many of our communities, owners of private wells are reminded to take the following actions:

If a well has been flooded (i.e., if flood waters have surrounded and/or submerged your well head):

  1. Do not drink or wash with the water until the well has been serviced, disinfected and confirmed safe.
  2. Avoid electrical shock – stay away from the well pump and turn off the well pump circuit breaker.
  3. Contact your local health department or other local officials for recommendations on how to test and confirm that flood hazards have been resolved.  Local government offices can often assist homeowners in finding certified laboratory resources, especially for bacterial testing, which is anticipated following flood events.  Local officials may also be able to advise if other parameters should be investigated, following a flood event (e.g., agricultural areas may want to test for the presence of fertilizers or pesticides.
  4. Seek a qualified well contractor or pump installer to assist with the following:
  • Clean, dry and re-establish electrical service to the pump.
  • Disinfect and flush the well to remove any contamination that entered during the flood.
  • Perform any other necessary maintenance so that your well pump can return to service.  Note that excess sediment in water can cause pump damage and even failure, so use of professional contractors is recommended for assessment and correction of pump function.

As a private well owner, you likely also have an on-lot septic system, which may also have been impacted by flood waters.  Keep in mind that flood events will impact your septic drainfield, and could also potentially damage pumps or other parts of your septic system.

Faulty septic systems and drainfields can negatively impact your well water quality down the road, so have your septic system evaluated by a professional following a flood, to ensure normal operation has returned.

For more information, watch this video on well flooding from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).


About the Author: Cathy Magliocchetti has been with EPA Region III for more than two decades.  She currently works on wellhead and source protection of drinking water.   She is a certified Penn State Master Well Owner and a member of her local environmental advisory council.

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Gender and sex inequalities in water, sanitation, and hygiene

This blogpost is part of a series of thematic blogs for the World Bank’s Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Poverty Diagnostic.

Woman carries water containers near polluted stream and water pipe in Maputo, Mozambique

Addressing gender and sex inequalities in WASH is not only recognized in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and 6, it is central to the entire ambition of the SDGs themselves. Some water, sanitation, and hygiene issues are faced only by women because of their biological sex, whereas others are more influenced by gendered societal norms. To truly leave no one behind, we need to be mindful of and work against gender and sex inequalities in all development work. 
New World Bank research is a valuable contribution to doing just that.  ‘Reducing Inequalities in Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene in the Era of the Sustainable Development Goals’ reveals that a drastic change is required in the way countries manage resources and provide key services, starting with better targeting to ensure they reach those most in need.  In many cases, this means women and girls. 

We have looked at how the 18 countries’ diagnostics characterized gender and sex inequalities related to WASH, and draw out examples here. Following a recent World Bank report on water and gender, we similarly note in which stage of a woman’s life inequality begins. We found that:
Where water is not available on premises, females are far more likely globally to bear the burden of collection. In such contexts, they face additional obstacles to participation in schools, workplaces, and other social spaces, and drudgery and physical impact increases. While this tendency is well understood, the country studies offer some updated evidence. For example, in Tajikistan, local leaders and representatives of local government stated that women and children fall ill in winter when they carry heavy buckets of water in the cold. For 78% of households in Tajikistan without water on premises, responsibility for fetching water falls on females (see infographic).
Infographic: 78% of households in Tajikistan without drinking water on premises rely on females for collection.

Starting in school years, lack of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) facilities poses additional obstacles to females’ participation.  In Panama, this is considered a likely reason behind the finding that girls in sixth grade are between 6 and 10 percentage points more likely to have missed at least one day of school during the past six months, compared to boys of the same age and girls three years younger. In Tajikistan, only 1% of schools have covered bins for disposal of menstrual hygiene waste.
Having babies brings additional health risks to women, exacerbated by low levels of access to WASH. Unhygienic delivery and postnatal care often means illness and death for mothers and children. Mozambique’s country report contextualizes how critical it is that approximately 80 percent of existing health centers lack water or electricity. The Guatemala case study explains how lack of WASH means expectant mothers lack sufficient nutrition.  This leads to smaller babies who are more likely to fall sick, contributing to an inter-generational cycle of hardship and poverty. The Bangladesh report explains how diarrhea and other illness among children due to poor WASH also impacts the wellbeing of the caregiver (generally the mother) because of more time-consuming and worrisome care for the children. 
These are just some of the insights from the country reports.  A number of them are available here. Others will become available soon. Meanwhile, we would be interested to learn if this information is useful to your work, and invite you to check back here for more blogs highlighting thematic threads across the country reports. Please leave any questions or reflections in the comments section below

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Guide to Emergency Preparedness

By Katy Davis

guide coverDid you know that September is National Preparedness Month? The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health has issued the Connecticut Guide to Emergency Preparedness, with tons of information so you can prepared during an emergency.

Also, The Connecticut Guide to Emergency Preparedness has come out in ten different languages! Those languages are English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Vietnamese. Inside the guide is a lot of useful information for any case of an emergency. There are different areas of emergencies such as natural disasters, pandemic flu, nuclear emergencies and even drinking water emergencies. There is also a chapter on what to do if you are in an emergency situation. The Connecticut Guide to Emergency Preparedness (in all ten languages) can be found at this link: http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3115&q=482616

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BlueScope Water Tanks Sponsor’s Josh’s House

BlueScope Water Tanks is a proud industry partner of Josh’s House, an ambitious and innovative housing project, for the design and construction of two 10 star energy efficient family homes in the Fremantle suburb of Hilton. It was a pleasure to participate in the Industry Partner Launch of the project this morning and to view

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New Colorbond® colours

Introducing Cool new Colorbond® colours. As of March 3rd 2014, we are expanding our standard Colorbond® colours range from three to five colours. These new colours are a wonderful addition to our standard range with new earthy tones that will enhance the look of your new water tank. See our new standard colours here.

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Narembeen Farmer Winner of Beyondblue Dowerin Tank Auction 2012

Narembeen hobby farmer Dane Farina was the winning bidder of the BlueScope Water Tanks Waterpoint® tank at the Dowerin Field Day, with all proceeds going to not-for-profit organisation beyondblue. Valued at $6700, the Mr Farina bought the Waterpoint® tank for $5700, providing value for money for his family as well as those needing the assistance

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Demonstration Water Tank Donated To Hillarys Primary School

Hillarys Primary School’s water conservation program has been greatly enhanced after becoming the recipient of BlueScope Water Tanks inaugural Demonstration Water Tank. BlueScope Water Tanks General Manager Daniel Wyatt said Hillarys Primary School is a very deserving recipient of BlueScope Water Tanks’ inaugural demonstration school water tank, as it was the first school to attain

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Three Tanks For Three Schools Challenge

Schools across Western Australia have the chance to win one of three 27,500-litre Pioneer rainwater tanks. The Three Tanks for Three Schools Challenge has been developed by the Water Corporation and BlueScope Water Tanks to increase awareness in schools about the importance of everyone in the community working together to help conserve our precious water

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