A Resource for Those with Water Where It Shouldn’t Be

By Thad Plumley

The sites on a road trip through Indiana in March had an unexpected companion. Along with the picturesque green fields and farms dotting the landscape, there was water.

A whole lot of it.

It wasn’t just lakes and winding creeks and rivers, but pools and pools of water where it shouldn’t be. Where crops were soon to be seeded in neatly organized dirt fields was water. Around trees in forests was water. Along the side of the road was water. I can’t begin to count how many center pivots I saw positioned in fields with pools of standing water surrounding them.

By no means did I witness washed-out roads or have to detour my journey. But I certainly saw firsthand the residual effects of the powerful winter storm that came weeks earlier, causing flooding throughout sections of the Midwest.

It was impactful. Perhaps even more intense was the news report days later that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated there is a high risk of more flooding the next three months in the middle of our country. For the people of the Midwest, hopefully the dire warning doesn’t come to fruition.

A side effect of the flooding is if you’re in or near those areas, you are more needed than ever right now. As a water professional, you need to help homeowners, business owners, farmers, and small communities relying on well systems that may have been under water at some point.

The National Ground Water Association stated in late March that potentially thousands of wells in counties flooded in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin could have been impacted.

That’s a whole lot of potential customers.

As you know, flooding can lead to exposure of E. coli, coliform, and an assortment of other contaminants in well systems. And while the ground was frozen in much of the Midwest at the time, that doesn’t help wells that are not properly maintained.

NGWA also pointed out as temperatures rise and the ground thaws, well systems in these areas need to be monitored and tested for possible contamination.

And that is where you come in.

Reach out to people and stress the importance of you assessing and servicing their well system if it was or might have been impacted by floodwaters.

Stress the importance of a water test at this time, flushing the well, disinfecting the well, and other important maintenance steps.

Seeing water where it shouldn’t be is sad, but it doesn’t have to be a long-term problem. Be the solution in your community.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at tplumley@ngwa.org and on Twitter @WaterWellJournl.