Under the Sea: From Cape May-Lewes Ferry to Artificial Reef

Cape May-Lewes ferry, MV Twin Capes  (photo credit: DNREC

by Sherilyn Lau

Have you ever wondered what’s on the ocean floor?  Or maybe you’ve thought about what type of home supports marine life such as sea whips and mussels?

On the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, 26 miles due east of the Indian River Inlet in Delaware, lies a collection of retired vessels given new purpose as part of the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Artificial Reef.

I’ve experienced the cleanup process of several retired military vessels as they were readied to become these new deep-water homes.  These vessels hold historical and cultural significance as former World War II destroyers or vessels that have served in rescue missions.  Upon their conversion to reefs, these vessels develop ecological significance as hard substrate for underwater organisms and serve as habitat or refuge for fish and other marine life.

EPA scientific diver collecting samples to determine the ecological succession of marine organisms on the artificial reef

The Del-Jersey-Land reef is home to the destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford, the former freighter turned menhaden fishing vessel, MV Shearwater, and the Zuni/Tamaroa, a Coast Guard cutter most famous for a rescue depicted in the book and movie The Perfect StormClick here for a video of her scuttling.

I recently had the opportunity to walk through the retired Cape May-Lewes ferry, MV Twin Capes, to ensure it was properly prepared to become the latest addition to the reef.

The MV Twin Capes was part of the original 1970s Cape May-Lewes Ferry fleet.  Due to low ridership, the Delaware River and Bay Authority decided to put her up for sale in 2013.  The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) acquired the vessel in 2017 and is responsible for the cleaning and proper waste management of materials removed from the ship.

DNREC demonstrated that no PCBs were detected in the samples taken from the vessel to ensure compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act.  In addition, large electronics, bulk debris and recyclables were removed.  Photo documentation, manifests of waste disposal, U.S. Coast Guard and marine chemist reports, as well as a signed affidavit by DNREC, were provided to EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region to satisfy EPA’s and the Maritime Administration’s national guidance. 

The MV Twin Capes was sunk on June 14 and this hard reef structure is expected to support the aquatic food chain and larger marine species.  Our Scientific Dive Unit is capturing the functional progress of these artificial reefs in partnership with DNREC.  MV Twin Capes and the other artificial reefs will continue to support the regional economy by attracting recreational diving and sports fishing from Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.

Although they may not be active in their traditional sense, there is an underworld of activity that still surrounds and occupies these proud vessels.

 

About the Author:  Sherilyn Lau is an Environmental Scientist in EPA Region 3’s Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division, Office of Monitoring and Assessment, Coastal Science Team

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

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Exploring the Watershed

 by Tom Damm

To fully appreciate why two EPA regions are working to improve the Delaware River Watershed, it helps to experience the area’s natural wonders.

I had the opportunity to do so recently on two kayaking day trips.

The first was an intimate tour of a county lake that connects with Assunpink Creek and eventually the Delaware River near Trenton, New Jersey.

The next day, I joined paddlers on the final day of the 2018 Delaware River Sojourn as we explored the Abbott Marshlands via two winding creeks.

At Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park Naturalist Christy Athmejvar led a group of us on a tour of the lake’s nooks and crannies, wisely advising us to keep our binoculars handy as she spied cool critters and plant life.

In one hidden cove, as we passed a beaver dam, we saw 14 painted turtles basking on a log and three bullfrogs staring ahead with their bulbous eyes and wide mouths just above the water.

Paddling near the shoreline, Christy would quickly interrupt herself to point out a red-winged blackbird or an American goldfinch soaring above or, to her delight, a double-crested cormorant tucked in the water with only its head and long, curved neck visible.

Toward the end of the tour, her visual sweeps of the treetops scored the highlights of the day – two bald eagles.  We kept our binoculars trained on the majestic birds as we bobbed in the kayaks, savoring our lucky finds.

A day later, it was time to join the sojourn that was completing its 24th annual, eight-day trip down sections of the Delaware River.

Fortunate that a thunderstorm threat never materialized, our sojourners, ranging from youth groups to seasoned veterans of the journey, paddled the warm, gentle waters of Crosswicks and Watson creeks on an eight-mile round-trip to the Tulpehacking Nature Center in Hamilton, New Jersey.

We started and finished at Bordentown Beach at the confluence of the Delaware River and Crosswicks Creek.  Along the way, we struck up conversations and at times joined our kayaks and canoes, drifting with the tide as we heard presentations about the Abbott Marshlands.

The talks focused on successful efforts to preserve and expand the marshlands, their rich cultural and historic legacy, and the support they provide for more than 1,200 species of plants and wildlife.

Whether on water or land, head out to some of the natural attractions of the Delaware River Watershed to get a better sense for why its restoration is so important to EPA and its partners.

And for what you can do to help, check out this site.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Inspection Video Promotes Clean Water, Healthy Farms

by Tom Damm

Spoiler alert!  Everyone wins.

A new video is benefiting farmers and regulators alike by taking the mystery out of farm inspections.

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association collaborated with EPA employees to produce a video that demonstrates what poultry and egg farms can expect when EPA or state inspectors come a-knocking.

The 14-minute video, featuring Mark Zolandz (inspector) and Kelly Shenk (ag advisor) from EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, helps further the goal of clean rivers and streams, well-managed farms and a robust agricultural industry.

Entitled “Why EPA and States Inspect Farms,” the video promotes a better understanding of the connection between agriculture and clean water.  It includes insights into the inspection process and provides information on assistance available to poultry and egg producers to address water quality issues.

The educational video, filmed on location at a turkey farm in Rockingham County, Virginia, outlines possible reasons why a farm may be inspected, how the farmers should prepare for the inspection, and how the inspection will likely be structured.

Runoff from farms is a significant source of pollution in rivers and streams. EPA and the states perform inspections to monitor compliance with regulations to protect water quality.  They also provide funding and technical assistance to help farmers adopt best management practices to control pollution.

You can check out more on the making of the video at this link.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Soaking in Another Victory

by Tom Damm

It’s a four-peat.

For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Maryland, College Park has won high honors in EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national collegiate competition to design the best ideas for capturing stormwater on campus before it can harm waterways.

A UMD team took second place nationally in the Master Plan category for “The Champion Gateway” project.  The project blends green infrastructure features into a campus entryway and pedestrian corridor adjacent to a proposed light rail system.

Along with providing more aesthetic appeal, the 7.9-acre site design – with its 367 new trees, permeable pavement, bioswales, rain garden and soil improvements – generates some heady environmental benefits, like:

  • A 40 percent increase in tree canopy and a reduction in stormwater runoff of 44 percent.
  • An increase in permeable surface from 5 to 74 percent.
  • The removal of 273 pounds of air pollutants and the sequestering of 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide – each year.

Green infrastructure allows stormwater to soak in rather than run off hard surfaces with contaminants in tow, flooding local streets and polluting local waters.

Chalking up impressive design numbers and wowing the judges is nothing new for UMD teams in the Campus RainWorks Challenge.

The university won first place awards in 2015 and 2016 for designs to retrofit a five-acre parking lot and to capture and treat stormwater on a seven-acre site next to the campus chapel, and won a second place award last year for its “(Un)loading Nutrients” design to transform a campus loading dock and adjacent parking lot into a safer pedestrian walkway with 6,660 square feet of plantings and 18 percent less impervious surface.

Dr. Victoria Chanse, a faculty advisor to all four UMD winning teams, said the competition “serves as an ongoing catalyst to encourage universities to develop innovative, sustainable learning landscapes that draw upon collaborations among students and faculty from a diverse set of disciplines.”

Check out more information on how stormwater runoff impacts your community.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Mapping Tool Scores Sites for Watershed Protection

 

by Tom Damm

Ralph Spagnolo and Ellen Bryson know their way around the state capitals in EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region.  The regional Water Protection Division employees have been on the road helping states launch an innovative online mapping tool that prioritizes sites for watershed preservation or restoration.

They will be in Dover, Delaware this week to debut the Watershed Resources Registry for state employees and others.  In past months, they’ve led registry launches in other states in the region, and when Virginia unveils its version of the tool, it will be a clean sweep in the Mid-Atlantic.

What’s all the fuss about?

 Volumes of data and information are entered by federal, state and local agencies and non-profit groups into a user-friendly Geographic Information System (GIS).  The GIS tool scores sites from one to five stars and lets decision-makers zero in on the best areas for protecting and restoring watershed lands and improving stormwater management.

The data fed into the system ranges from soil type, land cover and flood plains to impaired and high-quality streams, protected lands and wetlands inventories.  The tool allows users to identify locations, assess and compare potential projects and their environmental impacts, print site maps for field visits, and share information.  It also helps to streamline the permitting process and provide transparency in site selection.

The registry is especially useful for developers, natural resource and transportation planners and others who are required to avoid impacting natural areas or to provide mitigation for any unavoidable impacts.

In February, an updated registry was made available to the public.  Check it out and see how teams of partners are working to protect watershed lands.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

 

 

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Lessons in Managing Stormwater

by Tom Damm

Schools planning field trips to teach students about stormwater pollution may not have to travel far.  For many, the lesson is right outside their doors.

School buildings and grounds are potentially big conveyors of stormwater as rain washes over their roofs, parking lots and other hard surfaces, picking up pollutants before chugging into storm drains that empty into local waters.

A new, EPA Storm Smart Schools guide can help schools get higher marks in stormwater management.

The EPA Mid-Atlantic Region worked with the city and school district of Newport News, Virginia, to develop options for installing rain-absorbing features on school grounds that can prevent the flooding and water pollution linked to stormwater runoff.

The 36-page guide outlines the multiple benefits of school-based green infrastructure, from helping a community meet Clean Water Act restrictions on stormwater to providing hands-on instruction for students.

The “how to” guide captures the key steps followed by Newport News in selecting one of its schools – Sedgefield Elementary School – as a demonstration site for green infrastructure practices and engaging the community in the effort.  A community meeting at Sedgefield produced design concepts to address the most flood-prone areas of the school property.,

In June 2017, Newport News public schools received $60,000 in Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) funding to support the Sedgefield design work.

The green practices, like rain gardens, permeable pavement and bioswales, mimic natural conditions and allow stormwater to soak in rather than run off.  On school grounds, they also serve as outdoor learning labs to teach children valuable lessons about environmental protection and conservation.

For homework, be sure your school district is aware of the Storm Smart Schools guide.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Vibrant Ports, Healthy Ports

 by Cosmo Servidio

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Mid-Atlantic Vibrant Ports – Healthy Ports workshop in Philadelphia. For me, having once worked for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, this event gave me an opportunity to see familiar faces but more importantly, to discuss a topic that is relevant and significant for the citizens of our region.

In EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, ports are continuing to gear up to accept Panamax-size ships, and these vessels can make quicker trips than ever before due to the widening and dredging of our seaports. For a “portee,” these types of innovations are exciting, but to individuals living in near-port communities, they may pose concern.  Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. live within approximately three miles of a sea or inland port.

I know firsthand that ports can easily be described as “little cities” with a multitude of activities taking place 24/7.  The chore of unloading and loading goods, moving literally tons of cargo around, and housing ships of all shapes and sizes does produce emissions.  In turn, this may impact public health and the environment.  That’s why EPA is working closely with our Mid-Atlantic ports counterparts to encourage efficiency and resiliency, wherever possible.

During the workshop, stakeholders from our port communities came together to discuss concerns and exchange information. A collaborative effort between EPA and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the workshop attracted approximately 60 attendees who spent the day engaged in panel discussions on community relations, tools for improving economic and environmental performance, and project funding sources, among others.

It’s especially fitting that this workshop was held during Children’s Health Month because nearly seven million children in the Mid-Atlantic Region count on us to ensure they have clean air to breathe.  

I was pleased to acknowledge attendees from regional port terminals, as well as other state and local partners and community members with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work in the past.

This workshop demonstrated that we are committed to continuing our work with Mid-Atlantic port partners to help make our ports safer and cleaner “neighborhoods,” while growing their economic vitality.

Learn more about the Agency’s Ports Initiative here.

 

About the Author: Cosmo Servidio is the Regional Administrator for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Joy in Mudville

by Tom Damm

Photo: Courtesy of Jim Bintliff

If you were lucky enough to catch one of the record number of home run balls hit in Major League ballparks this year, you may have noticed that the ball didn’t look brand new – that there was some sort of film over it.  Mud to be exact.

All baseballs used in the professional leagues are rubbed up before games with mud found only at a secret location along a tributary of the Delaware River.  It’s been that way for decades.

After a batter was killed with an errant pitch in 1920, the search was on for a substance to give a fresh baseball a better grip without altering its integrity.  Chewing tobacco juice and infield dirt mixed with water were among the remedies tried to no avail.  In 1938, Lena Blackburne, a coach for the old Philadelphia Athletics, found mud with just the right composition at a spot off the New Jersey side of the river.  And it’s been used ever since.

What makes this mud so special?

“It’s two very simple things,” says Jim Bintliff, who has continued the family mud supply operation his grandfather started with Blackburne.  “It’s the geology and the geography.  The mineral content of the area is unique and there has to be a certain flow to the waterway that allows for sediment and decomposition (of the organic matter) and all that good stuff.”

As to claims by some pitchers that this year’s World Series balls seem slicker than usual, Bintliff says, “They’re using the same mud they used during the (regular) season.” Bintliff supplied the Dodgers and Astros and the rest of the teams with their mud allotments in March.

Bintliff says that in addition to all the pro baseball teams, he provides mud to “probably half of the NFL teams,” as well as to a posh Philadelphia spa and an assortment of college and recreational leagues.  He also uses it as a home remedy for poison ivy and bee stings.

According to Bintliff, the skimmed mud is strained of foreign objects and then cured for about six weeks.  A proprietary ingredient is added to the mix to give it the right feel.  The texture of the finished product is like thick pudding.

The rubbing mud is an unusual, though representative example of the “ecosystem services” provided by the Delaware Basin.  The basin is a focus of cleanup and preservation efforts by two EPA regions, four states and a host of other partners.

So, while the Phillies team didn’t make the playoffs this year, the Philadelphia area was represented in the post-season by a touch of the Delaware on the cover of every baseball.  Little solace to fans, but a handy bit of trivia.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Partners in Progress

by Tom Damm

In a room inside Talen Energy Stadium normally reserved for Philadelphia Union soccer player interviews, EPA and a group of partners had a game-changing announcement to make earlier this year.

It had nothing to do with soccer but a lot to do with goals – goals for the City of Chester, Pennsylvania to prevent flooding in its neighborhoods, revive its economy, and reduce stormwater pollution impacting its local creeks and the Delaware River.

EPA was joined by Chester, state, and private sector officials to announce a Community-Based Public-Private Partnership, or CBP3, to plan, finance, build and maintain up to $50 million in green stormwater infrastructure in Chester.

The Chester Stormwater Authority and its private partner, Corvias, have plans to transform the face of the city, turning hundreds of acres of hard surfaces into absorbent green spaces and working with small, minority-owned businesses to generate hundreds of local jobs in the process.

Green Infrastructure not only helps prevent stormwater runoff and localized flooding, it creates safe walkable communities that enhance the quality of life for the people who live there. The green features will mimic nature and allow stormwater to soak in rather than rush into streets and nearby waters carrying trash, bacteria, heavy metals and other pollutants.

As the speakers took turns at the podium, the launch of the partnership was met with great joy, appreciation and more than a few Amens from Chester residents.

Chester officials called it an opportunity to “turn the page” in their distressed city.  Corvias praised the city’s “courage” to try a new approach.  And the state infrastructure finance agency, PENNVEST, confirmed a $1 million grant to kick-start the effort.

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region provided technical and planning assistance to help design and develop the partnership, led by our Water Protection Division Deputy Director Dominique Lueckenhoff.   She was instrumental in developing the prototype for the concept – the successful CBP3 in Prince George’s County, Maryland – and has written a playbook for other local governments to follow.

Since the launch event, the Chester Stormwater Authority Partnership has developed a Long-Term Implementation Plan and conducted six community meetings to roll out the plan, with significant local attendance and input.  Five more meetings are scheduled in the coming months.  Feedback from the meetings is being used to determine the priority order of projects.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

If Your Private Well Has Been Flooded…

by Catherine Magliocchetti

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region is home to millions of residents who rely upon private wells for their drinking water supply.  As local conditions and weather may present the prospect of moderate and major flood conditions for many of our communities, owners of private wells are reminded to take the following actions:

If a well has been flooded (i.e., if flood waters have surrounded and/or submerged your well head):

  1. Do not drink or wash with the water until the well has been serviced, disinfected and confirmed safe.
  2. Avoid electrical shock – stay away from the well pump and turn off the well pump circuit breaker.
  3. Contact your local health department or other local officials for recommendations on how to test and confirm that flood hazards have been resolved.  Local government offices can often assist homeowners in finding certified laboratory resources, especially for bacterial testing, which is anticipated following flood events.  Local officials may also be able to advise if other parameters should be investigated, following a flood event (e.g., agricultural areas may want to test for the presence of fertilizers or pesticides.
  4. Seek a qualified well contractor or pump installer to assist with the following:
  • Clean, dry and re-establish electrical service to the pump.
  • Disinfect and flush the well to remove any contamination that entered during the flood.
  • Perform any other necessary maintenance so that your well pump can return to service.  Note that excess sediment in water can cause pump damage and even failure, so use of professional contractors is recommended for assessment and correction of pump function.

As a private well owner, you likely also have an on-lot septic system, which may also have been impacted by flood waters.  Keep in mind that flood events will impact your septic drainfield, and could also potentially damage pumps or other parts of your septic system.

Faulty septic systems and drainfields can negatively impact your well water quality down the road, so have your septic system evaluated by a professional following a flood, to ensure normal operation has returned.

For more information, watch this video on well flooding from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

 

About the Author: Cathy Magliocchetti has been with EPA Region III for more than two decades.  She currently works on wellhead and source protection of drinking water.   She is a certified Penn State Master Well Owner and a member of her local environmental advisory council.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.