ASHLAND, Wis. – With flood waters receding throughout northern Wisconsin areas affected by last week’s heavy rains, many property owners are working through the clean-up process to check wells, remove storm related debris and identify repairs that may require permits.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds area residents that heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water. Following is a roundup of tips, resources and guidance in the aftermath of flooding, including information about expedited permitting for repairs.
- People and pets are advised to limitcontact and avoid swimming or wading in flood waters and runoff, which maycontain bacteria and other contaminants.
Private wells and drinking water
- Floodwaters and runoff may affect private wells. Well owners who observe flooding or changes in their water should assume their wells are contaminated and should stop drinking the water. Homeowners are encouraged to make sure their wells are properly disinfected, then sample the well after pumping and disinfection to assurethe water is safe.
- Wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination.
- Even without obvious signs of flooding, a well can become contaminated. More recommendations for private well owners whose wells have been inundated are available onthe DNR website.
- More information on bacteriological contamination of drinking water wells, along with lists of licensed well drillers, pump installer and labs certified to analyze water samples are available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for the keyword “wells.”
Visiting state parks and properties
- A number of state properties were affected by the rains, yet most remain open to welcome visitors.
- Merrick and Interstate facilities are expected to be affected by the high waters up to and possibly through theweekend. A complete list of current conditions can be found by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching “Current Conditions.”
- Sections of the Gandy Dancer, Saunders and Wild Rivers state trails remain closed due to downed trees and washouts.
- Because some areas of far northwestern Wisconsin experienced washouts of some roads and highways, people traveling to the area should check the Wisconsin Department of Transportation road conditions webpage, 511wi.gov [exit DNR], for road closure details.
- DNR has compiled information on how todispose of specific materials and items. Visit Cleaning up storm debris for more information. People can also contact local authorities tofind out if there are special arrangements or resources for cleaning upand disposing of storm and flood debris.
- DNR water management specialists andwater management engineers may be able to expedite projects including some types of private bridges, culverts and roads in an officially declared disaster area. Please contact your local DNR transportation liaison for activities related to repair/replacement of public roadways, bridges, and culverts. Information on whether a project qualifies for expedited review and how to proceed [PDF] is available on the DNR website, along with a list of regional water management specialists and transportation liaisons [PDF].
Additional information for those affected by the flooding can be found on DNR’s website by searching “Coping with Flooding.” The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also provides information and links to resources on its Flood Hazards and Recovery page: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/flood (exit DNR).