As floodwater recedes in Seminole County, a new concern: Drinkable water

Wells affected by floodwater can be unsafe to drink from

As the recovery continues, the county is concerned about wells that may be damaged by floodwater. They say a well affected by floodwater may have disease-causing organisms in the water, making it unsafe to drink.

GENEVA, Fla. – The water is receding slowly in Seminole County more than two weeks after Hurricane Ian. As the recovery continues, the county is concerned about wells that may be damaged by floodwater. They say a well affected by floodwater may have disease-causing organisms in the water, making it unsafe to drink.

Bottled water is available to residents, free of charge, at the Rural Heritage Center in Geneva. Some families are reliant on it to use and drink.

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Guy Lalonde stopped by the site Tuesday to pick up a case. He says his street remains flooded.

“We’re on the Lake Harney Water Association and I guess they have wells and now they have boiling alerts, so I guess we have to be careful about the water,” said Lalonde.

Signs posted along Jungle Road serve as a reminder for residents. Seminole County says those with wells of their own should also take precautions if needed.

“If your well has been affected by floodwaters, there may be disease-causing organisms in your water making it unsafe to drink,” said Donna Walsh with the Florida Department of Health in Seminole Health Office.

Walsh shared the following guidelines for homeowners who wish to disinfect their water:

  • Boil tap water and hold it at a rolling boil for at least one minute. Let it cool completely before using to avoid burns.
  • Disinfect tap water by adding eight drops of plain, unscented household bleach per gallon of water. If a higher strength bleach is used (8.259 strength), only add seven drops of bleach. Mix the solution and let it stand for 30 minutes. If it is still cloudy after the second treatment, dispose of water and start the process over one more time.
  • Use commercially available bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

There are more than 9,000 parcels of land served by wells in Seminole County. It is unclear how many may be impacted.

“Our environmental health specialists will come out to your home and collect samples and then take it to a mobile lab for testing,” said Walsh.

For more information, call the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County’s Environmental Health division at (407)665-3604 or go to FloridaHealth.gov.

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About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.