Experts warning residents with private wells to get water tested after heavy rains

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (2/23/2018) - After a week of heavy rains and moderate flooding around Mid-Michigan, experts say now is a good time to have private residential water wells tested.

Water specialist Regina Padron of Wolverine Water Treatment said the heavy rains combined with snow melt mean stagnant water may be seeping down into the water table.

The best defense? Getting water tested.

"What happens is the surface water from the rains will go down into your well water, which is what you're pulling your drinking water from," Padron said. "The most common things are E. coli and coliform bacteria."

Coliform bacteria results from fecal waste.

Padron laid out the testing process, which requires cold water from a faucet that's run for about two minutes, a special bottle from a certified lab and the sample must be kept cold.

The sample bottle should be filled mostly, but not all the way to the top, before the cap is screwed on snug. The bottle then goes in a special package containing a frozen ice pack.

That needs to arrive at a lab within 30 hours to ensure it stays cold enough. Results generally take two or three days.

Specialists from Wolverine Water Treatment have offered to collect water samples for free. The testing would still come with a cost, however.

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Among the possible contaminants often found in water, Padron said any level of E. coli or coliform can be harmful.

The tests also can detect arsenic. Anything level above 10 parts per billion is considered dangerous.

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