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Dirty Water? Here’s How to Shock a Well

If you live on a property with a private water supply, then you’ll understand the importance of periodic monitoring for water contamination.

If your well becomes contaminated, this leaves you without access to clean drinking water- which could cause a major inconvenience for your family. But with regular water monitoring and the recommended tests for coliform bacteria, this situation can be easily avoided.

However, if you find yourself in a pickle with a contaminated water system, here’s how to shock a well both quickly and efficiently.

How Does Shock Chlorination Work?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that private water well systems be checked for contamination at least once a year.

Along with this, you should also be able to pick up other bacterial contaminations, such as iron and sulfur bacteria. While not a serious health threat, these bacterias can cause bad odors, water taste, and color.

Instances of Shock Chlorination

Shock chlorination is a process where a home water system is purged of bacteria using chlorine or liquid bleach. These systems can include wells, springs, and cisterns.

What type of instances call for shock chlorination?

  • Once a newly installed well is complete or an unused well is returned back to working order after a long duration
  • Water tests indicate a bacterial contamination of coliform, iron or sulfur
  • When a well system is opened for installation, repair or maintenance
  • In the instance of flooding and standing water around the well covering
  • If well water becomes muddy or cloudy after heavy rains

Here is how the actual chlorination process should be carried out:

How to Shock a Well in 5 Simple Steps

Shocking a well is a service offered by all licensed well drillers, but it can also be done DIY. Here are the 5 fundamental steps to follow:

1. Clean Your Well House

First, you need to turn off your pump circuit breaker and remove your well cover cap. Then, make sure to remove all foreign debris and scum from your well house or storage tank.

Scrub the interior surface of your well with a strong chlorine solution – the recommended mixture is 1/2 gallon of bleach to 5 gallons of water.

2. Make Your Chlorine Mixture

Once your well interior is scrubbed down, you need to make your water cleansing mixture.

This should consist of 3 pints of chlorine bleach per 100 gallons of water. For best results, do not use an acid or alkaline solution, a pH level of 6-7 is recommended.

Ensure that you make your chlorinated mixture in a well-ventilated area, using adequate protective gear such as gloves, an apron, and goggles.

3. Mix With Water

From here, pump your well with water from the nearest faucet to your well. Attached a garden hose and place the end of the hose inside the well.

Turn on your faucet and well pump and let the water run until you smell chlorine coming out the end of the hose. From here, wash down the interior of your well for 15-minutes.

Then, turn the pump off, return the well cap and allow the chlorinated water to remain in the system for 12 to 24 hours.

4. Circulate Your Water

Your next step is to circulate the water on your property and flush out any remaining chlorine.

In this step, open each faucet one at a time on your property, first the outside faucets, then the interior of your home. Let the water run until you smell a strong chlorine odor then close off the faucet.

Flush each toilet one a time- if you cannot detect a strong chlorine smell, you’ll need to add another 3 pints of bleach and try again.

5. Flush Your Water

Once you have adequately circulated the water on your property, turn the pump circuit breaker back on and flush your water system of any lingering chlorine.

Turn on each faucet, one at a time, and let the water run until you can no longer smell chlorine. Do the same with each toilet.

Remember that you should wait 1-2 weeks before water is completely drinkable again after retesting for coliform contamination. If your water test comes back clear of coliform bacteria, it is safe to drink. If not, it may be time to call in the help of a licensed well driller!

Looking For Water Well Experts?

If you’re at a loss on how to shock a well correctly and in need of expert services, then Empire Pump is your go-to.

Get in touch with us to schedule your well pump maintenance or water testing services today.


Is your well water dirty? Stay safe and contact one of the top Arizona water well pump installation companies to diagnose the issue. At Pump It Up Pump Services, Inc., our professionals are standing by to help you out with any concerns you have with your well. Call 623-582-5069 now!

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