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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > A gallon of bleach to clean my well?
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:57 PM   #1
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Default A gallon of bleach to clean my well?

I'm going to start brewing at home and since I'm on a well I've heard it is recommended to dump a gallon of bleach in the well to kill all the germs in my pipes. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

As far as I 've heard it goes something like this.

Dump Bleach in the well
Open all faucets and allow the bleach to enter each pipe until you smell it's presence.
Close faucet and allow a certain amount of time for the bleach to do it's job.
Open all faucets to flush the bleach from the system.


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Old 01-31-2011, 05:03 PM   #2
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I've never heard of this, nor would I recommend it. Do you drink the water out of your well? If so, why isn't the water suitable for brewing then?


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Old 01-31-2011, 05:05 PM   #3
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Ummm, so, if you dumped the bleach into the well proper.......


Wouldn't you have to drain the well dry to get rid of all the bleach?
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:07 PM   #4
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I don't know about it killing germs in your system, seems like it might dilute an awful lot. That said, growing up we had terrible hard sulfur smelling water and my dad used to dump a cap full of pool shock down the well each week. It kept the rotten egg smell to a minimum, but the first shower after treatment burned your eyes the chlorine was so strong. So, maybe it won't dilute that much.

Of course you're going to boil all of your water before fermentation, so germs shouldn't really be an issue.

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Old 01-31-2011, 05:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
Ummm, so, if you dumped the bleach into the well proper.......


Wouldn't you have to drain the well dry to get rid of all the bleach?
The well is tapping into the underground aquifer so it will dissipate in time. The object is to clean the pipes I guess. And I've heard some horror stories of people not flushing it all out and then ruining a couple loads of wash. We haven't done this in the 20yrs we've lived here but getting into brewing I just wanted to make sure. I will get a sample pulled this spring to see what we have to start with.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:53 PM   #6
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Wouldn't it be safer and easier to just get a water filter?
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:11 PM   #7
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Do you drink your well water?

General rule: If it's good for drinking it's good for brewing.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:16 PM   #8
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There is no reason to pour bleach down your well. Probably is illegal in some states too. A well is not a container. Putting bleach into the aquifer would be like putting bleach into a river. It will be diluted out of existence extremely quickly. If you have a bacteria problem, it will still be there. Further, if you have a bacteria problem, beer would probably be the only thing I would make with it. You should not be drinking it or cooking with it and certainly not showering with it. Get a water test or leave it alone.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:52 PM   #9
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What you describe is pretty much the SOP for "shocking" a well after it has been subject to potential contamination but unless you have had some work done on it or have reason to believe mice have been pooping in or something like that you shouldn't have to worry about doing this. You can have a bacterial analysis done - look in the phone book under water testing.

The procedure is to simply dump bleach down the well. Bypass filters etc. Household bleach is usually 5 trade percent. I think shocking is often done with stronger hypochlorite solution. It should be allowed to sit for 24 hrs after which a hose should be connected and allowed to run for 15 minutes per hour (to prevent the well from running dry) emptying far from the well or septic field if you have one. This is repeated until you don't smell chlorine exiting the hose. You can then turn on taps inside the house, letting them run until you smell no chlorine. Don't do any laundry, shower or drink water until the chlorine aroma is no stronger than that of normal municipal water. To be on the safe side wait until you can't smell chlorine at all.

You can, after dumping in the chlorine, run taps in the house until you smell chlorine in order to let the chlorine at the pipes over the 24 hour period but this should not be necessary unless you suspect contamination in your pipes.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:04 PM   #10
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Thanks guys. I'll just get a sample taken. I'm pretty sure the county will do it once a year free of charge.


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