MYAKKA CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — While the majority of Myakka city residents use well water, Manatee County leaders are urging those residents not to drink the water.
The county said the wells have been contaminated because of flooding from Hurricane Ian.
“If you have not had your well water tested, please pick up a testing kit here at the Myakka City Community Center,” said Dr. Scott Hopes, Manatee County Administrator.
The Florida Health department will be handing out testing kits and collecting water samples at least through next Thursday.
Dr. Hopes said the first batch of results have been returned from the Florida Department of health. Results found out of about 300 samples, more than half of the private wells are contaminated with either coliform or coliform and fecal coliform, making the water unsafe to drink.
The Myakka River crested about 12 feet over the flood stage, which caused the well heads to be submerged.
“Our water levels came up about three, 3 1/2 feet in just about three hours,” resident Cindy Knight said.
Knight’s well water samples came back contaminated. She was at the community center dropping off a second round of water samples.
“We have floods all the time but this is the worst I’ve ever seen.”
Knight had been without power and water.
“Every time you walk into a room you just reach for a switch,” she said. “You’re just reaching for the faucet and you’re going no can’t do that then you get a bottle of water and you brush your teeth.”
“Don’t brush your teeth with the well water, don’t mix baby formula with the well water until it’s safe to drink,” he said.
Manatee County said the state is dropping off pallets of water and supplying residents with bottled water. Dr. Hopes said residents will be able to disinfect their wells themselves with chlorine that the county will provide or the county will be providing disinfecting services through licensed contractors.
The disinfecting process can take up to four weeks. If you’re in need of help, you can call 311.