Well shocking -- decontaminate

Just came through some major floods, all-time record in my area actually. Thankfully, the roads held up, although I had to do an extra 45-minute detour to get to town.
But, for the first time ever, my well became contaminated and for two days looked like a strong tea. The discoloration has finally cleared out, but I know I should shock it before using.
I know the basic drill. Pour a gallon of household bleach through the well vent. Turn on a outside hose bib and wait until I smell strong chlorine. I have to skip pumping the water back into the well, since the well is some 900 yards through the woods away from the house....
Anyway, open the rest of the cold spigots one-by-one throughout the house until we get the chlorine odor. Turn-off, let set 12 hours and then open an outside bib to flush the system.
Question is that I have never included the washing machine water line in this procedure. I was talking to a neighbor, whose ideas are sometimes a bit out there, and he mentioned to be sure I include the washer....
Wouldn't mind, but I was thinking the bleach might be pretty harsh on the innards. Do you all as a matter of course include the washer in your shocking routine?
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You're guessing on the amount of chlorine, or that you even need it at all. If that is surface water in the well, how did it get there? Was the well head submerged in flood water? Did it come from somewhere else? Is it still coming from somewhere else? Have you had the water tested to confirm the presense of bacteria? If you're dealing with a contaminated aquifer, a bottle of clorox isn't going to help much.
-rev
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maybe 2 gallons

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Two gallons might be better. All the water lines, including the hot water lines. A slug through the water softener at the end of the process won't hurt either. Remember that the hot water tank will take more flushing at the end. Only testing can determine whether the disinfection was adequate. But two gallons is a start.

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I had to do this several years ago when I had the pump replaced. At that time I listened to all the experts. The municipal water works guy in the local town gave me a complicated formula based on the depth of my well, the number of gallons in it, etc.
In the meantime, the local "good old boys," all told me to just dump in a "gallon of Clorox."
The water works director also loaned me a chlorine testing kit to test the PPM of chlorine at the house. I added the recommended amount of bleach and the chlorine level never did reach the needed level. So, I added several more ounces of bleach. Still no go.
Got frustrated and dumped the rest of the gallon into the well, and "whaddya you know," it got up to the ballpark in the ppm.
Anyway, I didn't include the hotwater or the clothes washing, or come to think of it, the dishwasher, last time....guess I will this time.
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Of all the appliances in my house, the washer is the only one I regularly use with bleach. I think it will handle it just fine. In fact, since the washer is not used for drinking or cooking and is normally used with detergent, I see no reason to disinfect it. You will want to flush out the dirty water before using again though. Same goes for the dishwasher, adding the fact that most dishwashers heat the water to a disinfected level anyway.
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DUH, hadn't thought about washers typically using bleach, although, of course at a much lower level. Just that I just bought a new washer two weeks ago and am still a little protective of it. :>0
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Actually, it's almost certainly at a higher level in your washer. Chlorine to shock your well is measured in parts per million. Chlorine in your washer is measured in parts per thousand. A half a cup of bleach dumped into a thirty gallon washer tub is a far greater concentration, unless you've got a _really_ shallow well.
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A gallon is a _lot_ more than you really need. As bleach can be a bit hard on some materials, it's better to use a bit more finesse ;-)
Here's a very formalized description of the whole process:
http://www.lifewater.ca/Section_15.htm
A somewhat easier to read version is normally available here: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/watersafe/watersafe_disinfection.html
but it's under revision now.
This is a really good/simplified one:
http://www.healthunit.org/water/infosheet/disinfect.htm
For those friends of ours to the south, 250ml is a cup. The example given in the last link is 1/4 cup.
Our 6" well with 80' worth of head only needed about a cup and a half of liquid bleach.


With the bleach levels as per the recommendations above, it wouldn't be a problem with the washer's innards. While you do use bleach _in_ the washer, there is a possibility that you'd have a reservoir of nastiness in the plumbing just upstream of it waiting to get through to an unbleached load, or worse, slowly reinfecting the whole system again. (highly unlikely, but possible).
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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if you dont do all the lines it will re infect the rest of the system after you flush it. same as if you treat all areas of your house for termites except one as soon as the chemicals dissepate they will travel to the areas already treated.have you ever lived in a apartment you chase bugs to the neighbors this week they send them back next week. thanks scott
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