KNOX COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT PROGRAM HAS GOAL OF IDENTIFYING WELL WATER USERS
How safe is your drinking water? If you rely on well water, periodic testing and maintenance is necessary to ensure a safe drinking water source. Natural disasters such as flooding and emergencies such as train derailments or tractor trailer crashes also may impact your well's safety. That's why Knox County Health Department (KCHD) invites residents who use a well for their drinking water supply to register their wells with the Health Department. The EPA estimates that Knox County has more than 10,000 wells. Only 30 percent of them have been identified. Well users can help this public safety project by responding to a short on-line survey above or by calling 215-5160 for more information. Survey results will be used only for emergency preparedness purposes.
Why is this important? In recent years, Knox County has faced potential or actual well contamination incidents in areas of Burnett Creek and Tedford Road. To prepare for such emergencies, KCHDs has developed a program to identify homes using a well for water supply. If an accident threatens the safety of the well water in a given area, KCHD will be able to alert residents quickly.
“Knowing who uses well water is important for safeguarding the water supply," said Al Iannacone, KCHD environmental epidemiologist. "If danger is imminent, such as in the case of flooding, it would enable health officials to provide proactive safety guidance to well water users. It also would greatly assist public health response efforts during and after the emergency."
Keeping your water "well" maintained
Residents who use wells as their drinking water supply are reminded that it is important to schedule regular checks to ensure problem-free service and quality water, just as you check your furnace filter or smoke detector batteries. Preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency repairs, can prolong the life of the well and related equipment, and helps ensure your water is safe.
KCHD offers these healthy tips for well owners
- Test your well annually, or immediately if you notice a change in taste, odor, appearance, or when the system undergoes repairs
- Keep hazardous chemicals (paint, fertilizer, pesticides, motor oil) far away
- Maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet between your well and livestock
- Separate your well from waste systems, buildings, or chemical storage areas
- Check the well cap to make sure it is secure and in good repair
- Keep well records in a safe place.
- Contact KCHD if you need testing for bacterial contamination
- Private labs can be found in the phone directory or online for chemical testing
- If the air in your home has high radon levels, you should test your well water
- Once your well has reached its serviceable life (more than 20 years), have a licensed or certified water well driller and pump installer decommission the existing well and construct a new well
Environmental Health provides a variety of services to help reduce public health and safety issues for the citizens of Knox County including:
- Groundwater Protection
- Subsurface Sewage Disposal System (SSDS) Permit and Certificate of Completion Search Form