News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Reminds Homeowners Impacted by Idalia of Well Testing, Mold Resources Available

Aug. 31, 2023

COLUMBIA, S.C. ― The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has resources available for homeowners whose properties have been impacted by flooding from Tropical Storm Idalia, including information about protecting private drinking water wells that may have been affected by floodwaters and addressing mold.

“We understand that communities in the Pee Dee and Lowcountry regions were among those most impacted by Idalia, so we want to be sure residents know about and use the help we have available for them,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “I encourage anyone to call our hotlines to receive helpful information about the steps you can take to make sure your well water is safe and to address any mold issues that can be caused by floodwater.”

Private Wells
DHEC recommends that well-owners inspect their wells after severe weather to check for damage, and to remove any plugs or coverings on the casing vents. If a well was not flooded, its water is likely unchanged, and no further actions should be needed. However, if a well was flooded, then the homeowner should take several steps:
•    Use bottled water or water that you boil for drinking or cooking until you have properly disinfected and tested the well.
•    Disinfect the well with unscented household bleach.
•    Test the water to make sure the well was properly disinfected, and the water is not contaminated.

Specific guidance for how to safely disinfect a well is available on DHEC’s webpage Private Wells: What to Do Before and After Storms. 

Well-owners can also stop by their local DHEC health department or regional office and pick up a kit for testing their well water. Kits includes a form to fill out, a sterile sample bottle and instructions.
Anyone with questions about disinfecting or testing their private well is encouraged to contact DHEC’s Private Well Hotline at 888-761-5989 for help during 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Mold can also become an issue after flooding events. While DHEC’s doesn’t have regulatory authority to test for or remediate mold, the agency offers a Mold Hotline at 888-815-3509. Representatives can help provide information and recommendations for dealing with mold.

Porous materials — wood, drywall, carpet, mattresses, fabrics and furniture made of particle board — soak up water like a sponge. Items that cannot be dried thoroughly within 24-48 hours of getting wet are much more difficult to disinfect and may need to be replaced to prevent mold growth. DHEC also has information available online on the Indoor Mold After a Weather Event webpage.

Additional resources and information are available at Learn more about DHEC’s roles with weather emergencies.  



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