North Carolina residents with well water whose wells were submerged during flooding should contact their local county health department to have water tested, according to the N.C. Cooperative Extension.
Testing should not be done until AFTER the flood water has receded and the well is disinfected and purged. The NC State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) has developed kits that will be made available to the local health departments. The regular testing fees will be waived for these “Hurricane Matthew” kits.
Please see the message below from NCSLPH for more details:
The NCSLPH has begun preparation for laboratory analysis (testing for indicator bacteria – total coliforms and E. coli) of recovered (i.e., disinfected and purged) potable well water samples. This testing is used to detect fecal contamination of water. These indicator organisms are not dangerous to human health but are used to indicate the presence of a health risk (i.e., the concomitant presence of pathogenic or disease-producing microorganisms).
NCSLPH has begun to assemble “Hurricane Matthew Response” Coliform sample collection kits for water collected from drinking water wells; these kits will be distributed to local health departments (LHDs) upon request, effective immediately. “Hurricane Matthew Response” sample collection kits will include sample collection bottles and Laboratory Requisition Forms that are each uniquely labeled to indicate that the testing requested is for recovered (i.e., disinfected and purged) potable wells. These kits are NOT to be used for routine well water certification analyses.
Following discussion with Division of Public Health (DPH) leadership, NCSLPH will not invoice LHDs for samples collected as part of Hurricane Matthew Response activities; however, please be mindful that Hurricane Matthew Response sample collection kits MUST be utilized to avoid routine charges. Well Water Fees authorized by NC General Statute § 130A-5 are NCSLPH’s primary source of funding for well water testing; therefore, NCSLPH will be seeking other forms of reimbursement (i.e., FEMA, etc.) for Hurricane Matthew Response testing activities.