For $25, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department tests water wells. The department suggests homeowners who rely on a well for drinking and cooking water have their supply tested at least annually.
In the case of Richard Hibner's well, which is contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria, "the first thing we suggest is that they should perform a shock chlorination procedure, basically adding common household bleach, which has a chlorine content, to disinfect the water similar to the way they treat city drinking water supplies or swimming pools," said Richard Ziesenis, director of environmental health.
After chlorinating the water, the well should be retested.
Hibner's options include hooking up to rural water, drilling a new well or installing a continuous disinfection treatment system, Ziesenis said.
About 10 percent of the wells the department tests have fecal bacteria contamination, he said.