Checking Wells in Aftermath of Germann Fire

By KBJR News 1

May 22, 2013 Updated May 23, 2013 at 10:37 AM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) - In the aftermath of the historic Germann Road fire that burned more than 8,000 acres of land in Wisconsin, people heading back to their homes should be aware of a few safety hazards.

"One thing you would want to check, a lot of soot around the well head. Damage conduits around the well head where the wire comes up, you don't want to see them burnt because the wire might be burnt in the well and that could introduce bacteria if the conduits are damaged," said Keith Lind, who ones and operates his own well drilling company out of Maple.

DNR and County Health officials stress the importance of checking water wells

after a forest fire to make sure no harm has been done the outside of the well.

"First thing we look for is the casing, this one looks like a relatively new casing it's intact; it should be at least 12 inches above grade. Second things we look at is this cap here, the bolts are all tightened in. The next thing we look at is the conduit where the electrical wires are enclosed in the PVC conduit," said Ken Zurian, Environmental Health Specialist with Douglas County

Not only is it important to make sure the outside of your well isn't damaged, but also the water in it.

"Water can be bad or unsafe to drink weather its aesthetically pleasing or not, but if there was a change in your drinking water, be it a sudden change in odor or taste or something like that, it would be a good indication that it would be a good idea to test your water," siad Brian Becker who also works with Douglas County Health and Human Services.

Both Douglas and Bayfield counties provide water testing kits which are simple to use.

Experts say you should take a well water sample every 2-5 years.

"Any time you see something compromised with this system with this set up, weather it be a flood or a fire, it certainly doesn't hurt to test your water," added Zurian.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.