Question: Should I “Shock” My Private Well with Chlorine or Not?

iron water wells should not have bleach or chlorine added to shock
Household bleach is often used to shock a private well. Normally you do not want to shock wells with high iron or manganese.

Shocking a well is an often old wives tale for solving issues with well water. We hear customers who want to try this all the time as if it were a “fix all” for well water problems. “Shocking” a well is the process of adding multiple gallons of bleach into a well casing with the hopes of eliminating iron, sulfur, manganese and bacteria. This is a “band aid approach” used a long time ago by well drillers. The well drillers used to recommend this as a fix for smell in water or bacteria such as coliform. In very rare cases, shocking a well can be one step in the process to clean water, but usually only in new well or a well that has tested positive for e-coli or coliform. Unless you have e-coli or coliform you should normally NOT shock that well if it is high in iron or manganese.


Additionally a new well, that isn’t capped or covered, can contain impurities that lead to various forms of coliform, including fecal coliform, and other contaminants such as e-coli to appear in the water. Testing is done after the well is completed to ensure potability of the water and to identify any contaminants. If the testing returns positive for fecal coliform the standard response is to shock the well. Once the well is shocked, if the e-coli or coliform returns, then you must chlorinate “OUTSIDE” the well after that. Especially if the well contains measurable amounts of iron or manganese.

To learn how to properly shock your well, or to find out if shocking is even necessary, you may call our techs at 1-800-684-0979. Shocking a well is not a good idea to repeat over and over because it could cause more issues in the long run. We don’t charge for this advice and may be able to point you in a better direction. To learn exactly how to treat your water problem we always suggest you start our free water test.

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