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Private Well Disinfection: Similarities and Disparities Among State Level Protocols
Proceedings of the 2019 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2019 Authors: Barrett J.R.

Citizens who acquire their drinking water from private wells do not have the luxury of knowing the quality of their drinking water on a regular basis unless they are making the effort to have their water screened and/or tested. Approximately 90% of American citizens are served by a public water system which provides safe, reliable water under the regulatory enforcement of their state primacy agency. Private well owners are free to operate and maintain their wells because there is no regulatory oversight. For some private well owners, this freedom is desired but others want to know the quality of their drinking water.

If bacteria is found in a private well, the standard response is to have the well disinfected or shock chlorinated. The concept of making an effort to kill bacteria in a well is known by multiple terms to explain the process of using chlorine to disinfect. There may also be different causes or events that necessitate well disinfection. Well disinfection may also be performed by the well owner or a well contractor. Regardless of the cause or demand for well disinfection, there needs to be a uniform process to rid the well of bacteria. State level protocols have many variations of the fundamental steps in well disinfection.

This study should be of interest to state primacy agencies, private well owners, private well contractors, and anyone affiliated with private well disinfection. Studies show the magnitude of difference between public water system and private well bacteriological sample results. Private wells have a significantly higher number of sample results with presence of bacteria. Private wells being generally shallow in depth and possessing no continual disinfection lend to their susceptibility. The expansion of public water systems increases drinking water regulatory oversight which should promote and produce a safer drinking water supply for all citizens. This study will look to lay out a framework for well disinfection and display the lack of consistency among current state level protocols

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