What is Shock Chlorination?

Do you use a well for your fresh water supply? If so, then you should know about shock chlorination – a procedure that is used to control the bacteria in your well water. Bacteria that end up collecting in wells can cause damage to your health as well as to the well system, producing awful odours and taste. If you’re not familiar with this procedure, you can learn more here, in our quick guide on shock chlorination.

Why is it Used?

Wells create a pathway for oxygen to exist underground where it would not otherwise occur. This presence of oxygen, along with nutrient-rich water, enhances the growth of bacteria. These ideal conditions for bacteria can contaminate your wells with many different types, including harmful E. coli and fecal coliforms that can make you incredibly sick.

Other types like iron-related (IRB) and sulfate-reducing (SRB) bacteria can deteriorate your well system and create a ‘rotten egg’ like odour. These nuisance bacteria have also been found to disrupt pumping equipment and piping that, in turn, can reduce your well yield and restrict the water flow. By implementing a shock chlorination treatment, you can help eliminate the bacteria and maintain a properly functioning well system required for safe drinking water.

Signs of Bacteria

The easiest way to check if your well needs a shock chlorination treatment is through smell. If you get a whiff of a bad odour coming from your water, it’s a sign of a sulfate-reducing and iron-related bacteria problem.

Also, take note of your water flow. If you happen to notice that your water movement has started to slow down and you don’t think it’s due to a dry well, it’s likely due to increased iron in the water. Another way to check is to look inside your toilet tank. If you spot greasy slime growing on the inside or any signs of staining, this too can be an indication that you need a shock chlorination treatment.

How it Works

When you perform a shock chlorination treatment, the entire well system will be exposed to the chlorine to kill off all the bacteria. A mixture of chlorine and water needs to be accurately calculated to make a chlorine concentration of 200 ppm. Once calculated, chlorinated water will be siphoned down the well to treat the water. The chlorine will then need to be left to do its work before being flushed out of the system. To be effective in controlling the bacteria, you should repeat the treatment on a yearly basis as part of your spring and fall maintenance procedures.

If your well has never had a shock chlorination treatment before or if it’s been some time since you’ve had one, you should contact a licensed water well contractor. Improper shocking techniques are usually ineffective and are likely to cause more harm than good but a licensed professional has the specialized chemicals designed to optimize the disinfection required to produce safe and clean water. Call us today at Altair Water and Drilling to inspect, maintain or disinfect your well system!