From time to time, a private well system might become infested with microorganisms and bacteria.  The most common way to disinfect a well system is by introducing chlorine into it. In this article, we will discuss the basics of chlorination and what is important for well owners to know.

What is Chlorine?

Chlorine is a chemical element. Chlorine is a powerful oxidizer and you can find it in many cleaning chemicals such as bleach. An oxidizer works by accepting electrons from other molecules, thus working to separate at the atomic level.

How Does Chlorine Work?

Since chlorine is an oxidizer, it kills microorganisms by breaking apart the molecules that make the microorganisms. When you add chlorine to water, it replaces the hydrogen atom with chlorine atoms. As a result, it changes the chemical compound of the water. The change in the chemical compound causes the water to become a toxic or uninhabitable place for the microorganisms to thrive. As the microorganisms die, the water becomes disinfected.

What is the Process of Adding Chlorine Into a Water Well Called?

Experts call the process of adding chlorine into a water well system “shock chlorination”. In shock chlorination, you add chlorine to the well system to disinfect it. It disinfects everywhere from inside the well, to the well casings, the water storage tanks, and the well intake pipes.

When Should a Well Be Which Chlorinated?

A private well should be shock chlorinated immediately after installation.  It is recommended to do shock chlorination whenever a person is selling or buying a property that utilizes a private well.  Additionally, shock chlorination should also be done if there was a flood on the property and backflow occurred.  Another reason the shock chlorinate is if well water starts to have any unusual smells, colors, or tastes.

What About Hydrogen Peroxide?

In our previous article, we discussed the benefits of hydrogen peroxide in disinfecting water.  Chlorine has the advantage, however, of also sanitizing the system.

Should Shock Chlorination be the Only Method?

If a private well continues to have an infestation of microorganisms, even after shock chlorination, then this is evidence of a greater problem.  This could mean that the water source has been contaminated, the well cap is loose or missing, or there’s a crack in the casing to name a few.  If there is a recurring problem, then a professional team will need to investigate the problem and come up with a solution.

Dangers of Shock Chlorination

Chlorine is a toxic gas.  If too much chlorine is added into the well system, it can create toxic fumes.  Additionally, chlorine increases the arsenic levels of water, if the aquifer already has high levels of arsenic, it can cause high levels of arsenic to be found in the drinking water.

How Long After Shock Chlorination is a Well Usable Again?

It is recommended for an owner of a well to wait about one to two weeks before consuming the water after shock chlorination.  This will give time for the chlorine to flush out of the well system and the aquifer to recharge the water in the well.

Contact Us

Although shock chlorination can be a DIY project, it is recommended that a team of experienced professionals handle it. Contact the experienced technicians at American Pump Services to have your well water tested and if need be, have your system shock chlorinated.