Shock My Well?

New buyers often scratch their heads in confusion at the phrase "Shocking a Well."

1. What is 'Shocking a Well'?

Wells allow air to reach groundwater not usually exposed to oxygen, thereby increasing the likelihood that pathogens, such as fecal coliform bacteria including E. Coli, will flourish. Shocking a well involves pouring a bleach mixture into the well head to kill these bacteria.

2. Bacteria?!? But we're not sick, how can there be bacteria in the well?

Water naturally has certain forms of bacteria. However, illness can occur when bacteria our bodies aren't used to, is introduced. So while you may not get sick from the well in your cabin, Grandma or Sissy's new baby might.

3. Well, I guess I don't want to poison my houseguests... So what can I do about it?

You can start by shocking your well.

Flathead Screwdriver / Wrench
2 Gallons Bleach
5 Gallon Bucket of Water
Hammer (optional, but recommended)
Funnel / Razor Knife (again, optional, but nice to have)

First things first, find the well head (shown above). Remove the cap, using either a flathead screwdriver or a wrench.

Dilute the bleach in the 5 gallon bucket of water.

Pour the bleach into the wellhead, using the funnel or bleach container with the bottom cut off, avoiding contact with the wiring.

Turn on the kitchen faucet until you can smell bleach. Then turn it back off and let sit for 24-48 hours.

After 24-48 hours let the kitchen sink run until you cannot smell bleach anymore.

So how often should I shock my well?

Regardless of whether your cabin is a full time, part time, or weekend cabin, wells should be shocked every 1-2 years. The process is simple, and although it takes a bit of time, well worth your families health.

Helpful Hints

Bang on the wellhead with the hammer, this will scare any bees and wasps that have moved in, letting you know they are there. This is an optional step, however is highly recommended.

Remove the screens / aerators in the faucets used to run water. Shocking a well can loosen large amounts of 'crud' which would otherwise be stuck in the pipes.

Note! Occasionally, these large amounts of 'crud' have been known to stop up filters and valves. Be sure to disconnect or bypass any water filtration devices, including softeners.

Run the COLD water, rather than the HOT. This will allow you to pull water straight from the well, bypassing the hot water heater.

Bleach is HIGHLY TOXIC!!! Do not under any circumstances drink or cook with the water until it doesn't smell like bleach anymore.