Part of your responsibility in taking care of and maintaining a private well is performing regular testing and cleaning, such as shock chlorination. This helps you accomplish your chiefest responsibility, making sure that your water is safe to drink. One of the most frightening results that can show up in your testing is the presence of coliform bacteria. Coliform bacteria are harmful pathogens that cause a variety of serious gastrointestinal diseases.
You may be aware that there are several things you can do to bring down the levels of coliform bacteria in your well. However, did you know that there is a veritable “nuclear option” that is becoming more and more popular? This nuclear option is shock chlorination.
What is Shock Chlorination?
If you’ve ever had a particularly messy situation in the kitchen or had to scrub down a moldy shower, you’re probably already familiar with the sterilizing power of bleach. Sodium hypochlorite is the scientific name for the dilute solution we know as bleach. Shock chlorination involves introducing it into every part of your water system to kill bacteria and sterilize it. The process makes the water safe to drink again. This is a controlled process, and the sodium hypochlorite may be added as a powder or a liquid. This is highly effective at quickly killing large concentrations of bacteria. However, it quickly leaves the water table within a few days.
When Should I Use It?
There are some warning signs that your drinking water has contamination. One of the first signs people tend to notice is a change in the smell of their water. Our sense of smell is a lot stronger than people give it credit for, and foul-smelling water is usually a sign of a problem. This doesn’t always mean you need to shock your water supply, but it does mean you need to get it tested. You can narrow down the culprit even further if you start to notice slime and inexplicable stains in your laundry. Bacteria that live in your well system leave a slimy residue as they reproduce and eat the things they eat, and where there’s slime, there is almost always bacteria.
Shock chlorination is a good idea if you have never given your well treatment. It’s a great way to reset your well’s bacterial count. If your well has been recently serviced, it may also be a good idea to shock your system. This process, when performed correctly, can completely sterilize your well and give you the peace of mind that your water is as clean as it gets.
What Else Should I Be Aware Of?
Shock chlorination is a pretty intense process, chemically speaking. There’s a reason it is a “nuclear option”. Expect the possibility of loosened sediment on the linings of your pipes and the potential for your water to run black as the chlorine cleans the system. It dislodges rust, scale, and other deposits. After shock chlorination, don’t run water high in rust through your appliances or water softeners, as you can damage them with the heavier water.
You should also be aware that shock chlorination can be a complicated process. It involves testing and retesting, waiting for the chlorine to vacate your water supply, and many wells are not easy to access. It’s not as simple as pouring some bleach down your drain, even if you understand the idea of the process. Using too much chlorine can contaminate your water like a chemical spill. On the other hand, using too little can miss some bacteria, and your water would still be unsafe to drink. Even if you somehow managed to do it perfectly, if you don’t determine the source of the bacterial infection, it may come back. For example, if you have a leaky septic system shedding into the soil.
A professional will be able to help you with all of this. They’ll know what amount to use and how often, have the right tools for the job, and be ready for any number of potential complications. Lucky for you, it doesn’t get more professional than us. Call up the technicians at American Pump Services and find out if you should arrange for a shock chlorination today!