MSHP photo

Worsening flood conditions could pose threats to the quality of private water supplies for northern Missourians. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) advises those with flooded private water wells or any wells suspected of being impacted by the recent and ongoing flooding to be tested for safety by the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory (MSPHL).

Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency in Missouri on March 21 in response to the flooding. The MSPHL is waiving the fee for private drinking water testing during the declared state of emergency.

Property owners may submit samples from private wells or other drinking water sources for bacterial testing. Samples must be submitted in collection kits provided by the MSPHL. To receive an MSPHL-issued test request form, water sample collection kit and sample collection instructions, contact your local public health agency or the DHSS Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology at573-751-6102 or

Floodwaters also pose additional health risks:

  • Floodwater can contain raw sewage and pose other risks, including infectious diseases, hazardous chemical exposure and debris that can cause injuries.
  • Direct contact with floodwater can cause skin rashes, an infection of cuts or wounds or stomach illnesses including vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Downed or broken power lines in floodwater pose an electrocution hazard.
  • Sharp objects and debris, such as glass or metal objects, may be lurking in floodwater.
  • Animals, insects, snakes and other reptiles that have been displaced due to flooding may be submerged or hiding in debris in or near floodwaters.

Clothing exposed to floodwater should be removed as soon as possible. Exposed hands, feet and any other skin should be washed with clean soap and water.

After working in or near floodwaters, monitor any cuts, scrapes or wounds for redness, swelling or drainage. Seek prompt medical attention if any of these symptoms develop.

Anyone involved with flood cleanup should have had a booster dose of tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine within the past 10 years. Contact your local health department or your primary care physician if you need a Td vaccine.