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Alaska News

The quake is over, but some well water is still all shaken up. What to do?

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: December 6, 2018
  • Published December 6, 2018

PALMER — Authorities in Mat-Su are telling residents still experiencing dirty water after the Nov. 30 earthquake to follow state precautions to make sure their wells are safe.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough warned Thursday that the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an advisory for homeowners recovering from the earthquake.

If water changed color, smells different or has a new flow rate, the agency recommends the following:

• Inspect the well for damage;

• Use an alternate supply until the water is confirmed safe;

• Let cloudiness settle or flush the well using recommended procedures;

• Get the water tested by a certified lab for potential contamination; and

Some cloudiness after an earthquake isn’t unusual, but the stirred-up sediments should clear within hours or days.

If structural damage is noted, if the well produces cloudy water for an extended period of time, or if the well suddenly does not produce an adequate amount of water, the state recommends having it checked by a groundwater professional such as a well contractor, professional engineer or hydrologist.

Well owners who see sediment in the water supply should use an alternate source of water until the water supply is safe, state officials say. If in doubt, DEC advises that water used for drinking, cooking, hand washing or dish washing should be heated to a rolling boil for at least one minute.

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