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Flooding can contaminate wells; private well owners encouraged to check their drinking water

July 13, 2016

Hurley, Wis.  -- Heavy rains such as those that swept through northern Wisconsin in the past several days can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water.

"If you live in an area that was recently or is currently flooded, your private well may be in danger of contamination from pollutants carried in floodwaters," said Marty Nessman, DNR private water field supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Well owners who observe flooding or changes in their water should assume their wells are contaminated and take the following steps:

  • Stop drinking the water and find an alternate source of safe water to drink.
  • Make sure your well is properly disinfected.
  • Before resuming consumption of the water, sample the well after pumping and disinfection to assure the water is safe.

Flood waters and runoff contain bacteria and other contaminants that can affect water supplies and cause water-borne illness. 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 on the DNR website.

"Disinfection and sampling are best done by a licensed well driller or pump installer," Nessman said. “Any water supply system that has been submerged by flood waters should be pumped out once the floodwater recedes, then thoroughly disinfected and tested to determine that the water is safe.”

Private well owners are encouraged to test their wells annually for bacteria and nitrates, to check for problems and ensure the water is safe to drink. 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,, for the keyword “wells.”

For individuals who receive their drinking water from a public water supply, these systems are designed and operated to keep out contaminants. If you have concerns about the safety of your community's drinking water, contact your public water supplier.

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: .

CONTACTS: Marty Nessman, DNR private water field supervisor, 608-267-2449;  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;  Jake Sedivy, DNR private water supply specialist, 715-635-4027,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Free Well Water Test Kits

Available to those home owners affected by the recent flood at the

Saxon Post Office

Saxon Pub

Frontier Bar

Please send water sample on a Monday or Tuesday to assure the lab receives the sample within 24 hours.

Disinfection instructions included. You may consider disinfecting your well first then sampling after.

Call the Iron County Health Department at 715-561-2191 if you have any questions.

Zona Wick

Health Officer



July 15, 2016

Press Release

From:  Iron County Emergency Management/Health Department

Re:   Reporting Damage


Due to recent storms and flooding in Iron County, property owners may have experienced damage to their home, well or septic system.  Please call the Iron County Health Department at 715-561-2191 to report these damages.  Pictures are important also.  If your insurance doesn’t cover your costs we MAY receive emergency funds to cover some cost, but we need to hear from you.  Documentation will be important.




Clean- up kits are available to Saxon and Gurney area residents who were effected by the recent floods at no charge to them. You can pick up a kit at:

Saxon Post Office

Saxon Pub

Frontier Bar & Campground in Gurney

Also there is free drinking water for those people that their water is unsafe to drink.

After the Flood: Use Caution During Clean-Up


Zika Virus Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created resources and tools for health care providers about the Zika virus disease, including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods.

Click on the NTC’s syndicated Zika virus website below to access these resources

ZIKA Virus - What you need to know:




The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has upgraded our website to better serve Wisconsin citizens. Our agency meets many different needs-but as a whole we are here to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of Wisconsin. A modern, well‐designed, and more responsive website will help us to achieve that.

We are using a web development tool called Drupal that has been adopted widely across both business and government. Drupal is an open source web content management system with an active development community. In other words, it is a free tool for building websites that has caught on as a practical and innovative solution worldwide.

The user experience is extremely important to us, and this upgrade has allowed us to greatly improve it.

**We studied how people navigate and why they come to   the website-and applied what we learned. Overall, visitors to our website should find it less complicated to browse, search, and find what they want.

**We are also using best practices for design. The new look is uncluttered and easier on the user's eyes.

**Our website is now optimized for mobile, which means you can view our site on any device with ease.

**We continue our ongoing agency commitment to accessibility and compliance with federal regulation, sec


Our Mission

The Iron County Wisconsin Health Department is here to serve the residents of Iron County Wisconsin by promoting health, protecting the enviroment, and preventing disease and injury.





Office Information

Department Head: Zona Wick
502 Copper Street
Suite 2
Hurley, WI 54534
Phone: 715-561-2191
Toll Free: 888-561-2191
Fax: 715-561-2836
Office Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

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