Sixty-three private wells in the Myakka City area tested positive for contamination after Hurricane Ian, but Manatee County officials said with proper care, these wells could be ready for use in the coming weeks. said he was optimistic when it came to
In addition to these 63 privately owned wells, another 109 wells are showing signs of contamination and are being retested to see if the water quality is good enough for potable use. Overall, the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County tested 318 private wells.
County administrator Scott Hopes said residents of contaminated wells are following county warnings and using bottled water for household chores. It said it is using its proactive response to prevent outbreaks of water-borne illnesses.
Dr. Edwin Hernandez, clinical director of the Florida Department of Health for Manatee County, said early detection of contamination is a key factor in stopping disease outbreaks.
“I think we’re doing everything from all angles,” Hernandez said. “We don’t just educate, we test and allow you to follow up accordingly.”
Infection with water bacteria can cause gastrointestinal problems, fever and other symptoms in water users. Hernandez said there was no data to support that the disease was due to contaminated well water.
It is expected that it may take up to 10 days after disinfection before the wells can be retested. He said the county will continue to supply bottled water to those in need for an estimated four weeks.
Those wishing to have their well water tested will pick up a vial of sample at the Myakka City Community Center on Wauchula Road and drop it off once it is filled.
Commissioner Vanessa Bo said the county is working very closely with residents of the Myakka City area to ensure they have a safe water supply.
“There are many children and babies in Myakka,” she said. “If one child is sick, it’s one child too many. The county takes this very seriously.”
bird’s eye view
Hopes said during a second helicopter flight over the area on Oct. 1, he began looking at the impact of storms on private wells due to the amount of land that has been submerged.
He then contacted Manatee County Emergency Management staff to set up a water test.
On October 4, the county issued a press release asking residents of the Myakka City area to have their water quality tested. On October 13, the county announced that many wells were indeed contaminated.
Of the 319 samples received, 172 had at least some level of coliform bacteria.
Hope said it was “quite significant” that 54% of the samples contained either coliforms or faecal coliforms. He said that while bacteria in wells are a problem, the presence of faecal coliforms and their species E. coli is the most important indicator of contamination that causes disease in humans.
Hopes says the problem is most acute for very young and very old people who may be frail or have other medical problems that make them more susceptible to illness.
Residents of Myakka City said they were pleased with Manatee County’s action to test and provide water.
Sarah Rishi said Manatee County is convenient for fetching water and said the test vial comes with simple instructions.
“Very helpful,” she said.
Risi said she got sick after drinking her well water after the storm. But she said she doesn’t know if it’s because of the well water or because she ate too much fast food and junk food at a time when other foods weren’t available.
She said she was lucky to have a roof over her home despite the polluted water.
“It’s sad to see all the damage,” she said. “Everything lets people down.”
Myakka City resident Pam McCrone appreciates Manatee County’s efforts. She said the pollution issue first came to her attention through a Manatee County text sent days after the storm.
“I was very confident with all the information,” she said.
She is currently undergoing her second medical check-up, and so far has not experienced any illness, despite using well water before tests revealed the well to be contaminated.
She said she had purchased drinking water before the storm and now has no problem finding drinking water in stores.
Myakka City resident Philip Picker said he would have continued to use his own well water if it had not been for the message from the county. His well water is being tested.
He said Manatee County had the water available, so waiting for the test results to come back would be fine.
“It’s great that they’re here and have this as a resource,” he said.
turn disaster into good fortune
Hope said the fact that many privately owned wells in the Myakka City area need electricity to function could have been a hidden blessing.
Residents without power could not drink the potentially contaminated water.
“I think the saving grace was that they weren’t in power right away,” Hopes said. “They weren’t using well water.”
The applicant said some of the contaminated water may have been caused by the fact that residents have wells and septic tanks nearby. He said it may have mixed and flowed into the well.
He states that septic tanks contain perforations that allow sewage to seep into the soil. said to have the ability to mix with
However, he also said the presence of so many animals and their droppings near water sources contributed to the problem.
“It’s not just humans, it’s animals,” he said. “When you think about the rural nature of most of the land here, it’s everything from deer to raccoons to possums to goats and cows,” he said.
Advice for Residents
Currently, Manatee County advises residents to drink bottled water or to roll boil water for at least one minute for drinking or cooking.
Applicants said residents should wait for two negative tests for bacteria before continuing to use the water regularly.
He said those with private wells should monitor their children to make sure they don’t drink.
Over time, residents should remember that ice in freezers could have been made from contaminated water, Hopes said. Pets should be monitored as well, said Hopes. I was.