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Signs Your Water Well May Need Shock Chlorination

Four generations of experience installing, maintaining and
repairing wells throughout Utah and Wyoming.
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As the owner of a water well, there are several methods you may take to ensure no harmful contaminants or pathogens make their way into your home’s water supply. One method that may be used, especially if you’ve had recent issues of bacterial buildup in the well, is known as shock chlorination.

At Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, we’re happy to provide a wide range of water well drilling and well inspection services, including testing for contaminants and ensuring your water supply remains healthy at all times. What is shock chlorination, what does it do to your well water supply, and what are some common signs that it might be time to apply this method to your well? Here’s a primer.

signs well shock chlorination

Shock Chlorination Basics

Shock chlorination is a common process carried out in a few settings, one of which is within water wells. It involves controlled exposure of the well to a chlorine-based disinfectant, usually in a powdered form. This is typically done by pouring or pumping the substance straight down into the well, but depending on how it is being used, sometimes water from another source can be added as well.

The amount of time required for this process varies based upon local regulations and specific instructions from the manufacturer of the product being used. However, it is usually done for around an hour or two at a time, allowing sufficient time for an effective disinfection to take place within the well itself. After this process has been completed, the disinfectant should be flushed out of the well using water from another source; afterwards, normal functions can resume with the knowledge that any bacteria present has been completely removed.

It’s vital that only water well professionals attempt to use shock chlorination on their own wells, as incorrect handling could lead to adverse health issues. If you suspect any sort of problem with your given system and want to be sure it is done correctly, allow us here at Zimmerman Well Service LLC to handle the task for you.

Our next several sections will go over some potential signs that your well might be in need of shock chlorination or a similar process.

Slime Buildup

One of the most common signs that your well may be in need of chlorination is the appearance of slime or algae, both of which can be cause for alarm. As bacteria accumulates in the well itself over time, these substances will sometimes begin to accumulate around the well’s pump and other components. Slime may also appear on nearby surfaces; this is especially true if you find any greenish material present.

Shock chlorination can be used to effectively remove both algae and slime buildup, restoring the well’s pump to proper functionality. If you’ve started to see a slimy substance forming on the inside of your toilet tank, for instance, or in several other related areas, this might be a sign that your well is in need of immediate disinfection.


Slime or algae growth isn’t the only sign of bacterial build-up in your water supply. If you find that there is any kind of discoloration coming from the well itself, whether it’s a greenish tint to the water or some other change in color, this could also be an indication of bacterial growth taking place within the well.

Shock chlorination can help restore your well to its full original functionality after any sort of discoloration has taken place, so if you find that your water supply is darker than usual, there’s a chance it may be a sign that the well itself is in need of disinfection.

Laundry Stains

Even if you aren’t checking areas like the toilet tank or other parts of your water supply system regularly, you may see the signs of bacterial contamination in your clothes once they’ve been run through the laundry. Bacteria in your well system may make their way into fabric, causing stains to appear in your clothing that represent organic residue being left behind.

Shock chlorination can help remove any buildup in your well that might have caused discoloration in the first place, making sure that you don’t have any further problems when it comes to laundering your clothes. In other cases, the stains on your clothes may be due to rust from your pipes, which could be due to similar issues that shock chlorination will also help solve.

Major Foul Odors

While there are a few potential reasons for unpleasant odors coming from your well system other than bacterial build-up, it’s sometimes the case that you’ll find very strong smells emanating from your water supply. These odors are often described as pungent, musty, or otherwise unpleasant; this is another sign of bacterial contamination in your well. If these symptoms don’t go away on their own after a few days, you’ll want to have your well shock chlorinated as soon as possible.

Long term exposure to the chemicals in a bacterial buildup can lead to serious adverse effects on your health. It’s vital that you take steps to remove any problems with bacteria from your system before they become too severe, so call us today if you’re worried about these issues.

Never Been Shocked

Finally, while most of these other issues involve reactive use of shock chlorination, this is also a process you should be considering even without a specific cause if it’s never been done to your well in the past. Shock chlorination is a simple step you can take in order to ensure that no issues involving bacterial contaminants or pathogens will ever affect your water supply, so if you haven’t had it done to your system yet, give us a call today.

For more on shock chlorination or water well sanitation, or to learn about any of our water well drilling, rehabilitation or other services, speak to the pros at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC today.