Basic Water Well Knowledge for Homeowner

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Release date: 
January 28, 2012
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MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- When the ground shakes wells can break. In the wake of the August 23, 2011 Virginia Earthquake central Virginia well owners are urged to inspect water wells for damage and contamination. If damage is suspected residents should register with FEMA as soon as possible.

Once registered with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) residents with damage to their homes receive a visual inspection of their home by FEMA inspectors.  If a FEMA inspector suspects a water supply has been compromised that information is included in the home's evaluation.  Home owners with a suspected well issue may receive, as part of their initial repair grant, money to have a well water test. 

A well water test is performed by a licensed water testing provider. Local health officials maintain lists of approved water testing providers. A well water test will confirm whether or not the well's water meets state standards for drinking water. A licensed well contractor should then be contacted to examine the well if the water test reveals contamination. The licensed well contractor will be able to determine whether the well has earthquake related damage.

If a FEMA registrant confirms their well has been compromised, their next step is to write an appeal letter. When a registrant appeals a decision, you are asking FEMA to review your case.  You will be asked to submit with your appeal letter the documentation you have gathered through the well testing process.  Water testing results, well repair estimates provided by a licensed contractor, and a contractor's note confirming the damage is earthquake related should be included with the appeal letter.

Directions on how to appeal are included on pages 10-11 of the Help After a Disaster booklet registrants should receive from FEMA.  Assistance in preparing an appeal letter can also be received at local Disaster Recovery Centers in Louisa at 502 E. Main St. and in Spotsylvania at 8960 Courthouse Road, or by calling FEMA at 800-621-FEMA (3362).

Basic water well knowledge is valuable information for the homeowner following a disaster. Modern well construction is regulated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prior to 1990 well construction was not regulated by the Commonwealth, and well construction techniques varied greatly.

To register, call 800-621-FEMA (3362), if you use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585, if you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362 or go online to Phone lines are open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Online registration is available at any time. Those with smart phones or other mobile devices can register at

Deadline to register for assistance is March 5.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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