Perry County Health Department's (PCHD) objective of the pool/spa program is to assure that these facilities meet minimum standards of design, construction, and operation. In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MO DHSS) the PCHD has established guidelines to promote safety and clean water quality in the Perry County pools and spas.
The Perry County Health Department will inspect each public swimming pool and/or spa at Public Lodgings/Camp Grounds (not for private citizens) at least yearly and upon request.
Pools, Spas, and Water Parks
Recreational water safety - Swimming is a fun, active, and healthy way to spend leisure time.
According to the MO DHSS, in controlled areas the biggest health risk you face is exposure to a parasite called Cryptosporidium parvum, commonly called crypto. This parasite causes a significant gastrointestinal illness approximately 7 days after exposure. Crypto is very resistant to normal disinfectants used in controlled pools and water parks and requires an extremely small dose to cause illness.
Private Drinking Water
Private Drinking Water - Frequently Asked Questions
I have a private well, how often should the water be tested?
Property owners with private wells should submit a water sample from the well at least once every year (more frequently if the well was drilled prior to July 1987) and certainly whenever any changes are noticed in the water such as taste, cloudy, odor etc. The water should also be tested after repairs have been made to the water supply system.
What are the recommended tests?
Start with a bacteria test. This is a test for Total Coliform Bacteria and E. Coli Bacteria. The test results are recorded as either ABSENT or PRESENT. For more information on these forms of bacteria look here.
Who does the water tests and how much will it cost?
Property owners may collect their own water samples for bacterial testing (Total Coliform and E-coli). The laboratory requires you to collect and submit the water sample in the collection kits provided by the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory. These kits with sampling instructions are available at the Perry County Health Department (PCHD). There is a $10.00 fee (check or money order only) payable to the laboratory upon submission of the test.
The water sample should reach the state laboratory within 30 hours of collection. The water sample should be submitted to the Perry County Health Department Monday thru Friday by 2:00 pm, before
How long will it take to get results?
Bacterial samples are sent to the State Public Health Laboratory in Jefferson City, Mo. Results from the tests should be back within one week.
What other tests are available?
Talk to the Environmental Public Health Specialist (EPHS) at the Perry County Health Department about the specific problem you may be having with your water supply. Tests for non-bacterial contaminants on private drinking water supplies (well water), may be conducted in circumstances where public health is threatened. These samples must be submitted by an Environmental Public Health Specialist, Lead Assessor or Environmental Specialist employed by a Public Health Agency for all drinking water supply analysis.
In instances where private drinking water supply testing is requested but public health is not impacted, testing should be conducted by private laboratories. For a list of private laboratories that are certified by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MO DNR) to conduct drinking water analysis, please contact MO DNR Public Drinking Water Program at 573-751-5331
Some water tests require prior approval from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Boil Water Instructions
Bacteria that may cause illness have been found in the water supply. All residents must continue to boil or treat water until the supply has been made safe.
Drinking water may be treated by one of the following methods:
1st-Boil water for three (3) minutes in a clean container. The flat taste can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or by pouring it back and forth from one container to another.
Then, mix one-half (1/2) teaspoon of liquid, unscented chlorine laundry bleach, such as Clorox or Purex, with two-and-one-half (2 1/2) gallons of water, and let stand for at least thirty minutes before drinking.
Add two (2) drops of tincture of iodine solution to one (1) quart of water. After mixing thoroughly, allow to stand for at least thirty (30) minutes before drinking.
The Water must be boiled or treated for the following:
- Tooth brushing
- Washing raw fruits and vegetables
- Bathing babies
- Washing and cleaning of cooking and eating utensils
- Eating and cooking utensils may be washed using unboiled water and then disinfected by immersing them for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of liquid, unscented household chlorine bleach per gallon of water
- Ice – dispose of ice cubes and remake ice with water that has been boiled
- Cleaning or soaking open wounds
- Cleaning of medical equipment
- Use in room humidifiers
Untreated clear water may be used for:
- Bathing except for babies
- Flushing toilets
Disinfecting Well Water Instructions
Disinfection is needed when a water sample tests positive for bacteria, the well has been impacted by flood water, or when work on the well, such as a pump replacement or liner installation, has been completed. It is important to note that chlorinating a well multiple times a year causes corrosion of the casing. This can lead to pumps falling into the well and wellheads being replaced. Below is step-by-step video on how to disinfect your well from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Items needed to chlorinate your well:
- A garden hose, long enough to reach from a water faucet to the well.
- Clean bucket, filled half to three quarters full with water.
- Protective equipment (goggles and rubber gloves).
- 2-5 gallons of bottled water.
- Unscented bleach, preferably unopened and less than 6 months old.
- Chlorine test papers (optional).
- Funnel (optional for wells with caps, necessary for well seals).
STEP 1 – Turn off the electricity to the well
For safety reasons, turn OFF the electrical power to the pump.
STEP 2 – Bypass all water treatment systems
Turn or push the bypass valves to “bypass” or “out of service” position for all water treatment systems (water softeners, reverse osmosis systems, etc.) and any appliances that cannot tolerate bleach. These appliances may either be damaged by bleach or may remove the bleach before entering your home.
STEP 3 – Open the well
The style of the well covering dictates how to open the well. If you have a well cap, remove the cap and move the wires with connector caps to the outside so they don’t get wet in later steps. If you have well seal with a vent, remove the vent but do not remove the compression bolts for the well seal. If you have a different type of covering, contact a well contractor that holds a permit to do business in Missouri (dnr.mo.gov/mowells/) or call Well Installation Section staff at 573-368-2165.
STEP 4 – Inspection
Inspect the well for any potential problems to eliminate defects so contamination cannot enter the well. Examine the following:
- Wire insulation for cracking, peeling or missing wire nuts.
- Well casing for cracks.
- Loose well caps.
- If you see spiders, spider webs or insects, this is an indication your well cap is loose and should be replaced.
STEP 5 – Mixing the bleach solution
The size of your system and the amount of water in your well will influence the amount of bleach needed to disinfect the well. Very few wells will need more than one gallon of bleach. Using more bleach than necessary will not disinfect the water faster, may cause corrosion of the steel casing, and will hinder the disinfection effectiveness.
To calculate the amount of bleach needed, you need to know the well’s depth and static water level. Subtract the water level from the total depth to determine the amount of water in the well. If you do not know this information, using one gallon of bleach is sufficient.
Use the amount of bleach as indicated in the table below.
|Amount of Water in Well
|6" Well casing diameter
|8" Well casing diameter
|10" Well casing diameter
|4 cups (1 quart, ¼ gallon)
|8 cups (2 quarts, ½ gallon)
|12 cups (3 quarts, ¾ gallon)
Slowly add the bleach to the clean 5-gallon bucket containing 2-3 gallons of water.
STEP 6 – Pour the bleach solution into the well
If you have a funnel, use it to place the bleach solution in the well. If your well has a well seal, you need to use a funnel. Place the funnel in the hole where the air vent was located on the well seal. Pour the bleach solution into the well. Avoid the well casing as much as possible as the bleach will cause corrosion of steel casing.
*BONUS STEP – Pour vinegar into the well
Some research suggests the addition of 1 or 2 gallons of distilled vinegar lowers the pH and helps disinfection. After using the bleach solution, pour the vinegar into the well.
STEP 7 – Recirculate the chlorinated water in the well
This step is important to ensure the entire water column in the well is chlorinated, not just the upper portion. Turn on the power to the well, but be careful. The wires are now “live and hot.”
- Connect a hose to a faucet outside and run the water for about 10 minutes in an area away from the well, septic system, landscaping and bodies of water. The water may be discolored. Run the water until it clears.
- Turn off the water and place the garden hose in the well. If your well has a well seal, you need to use a funnel. Place the funnel in the hole where the air vent was located on the well seal. Turn on the water for at least 30 minutes. If you have chlorine strips, use them to determine whether the water has at least 50 ppm. If the tests do not show a minimum of 50 ppm or you cannot smell any bleach, go repeat Step 5.
- After 30 minutes, turn off the water and the power to the pump.
- Rinse the well components with the bottled water. This rinses off the chlorine to prevent corrosion.
- Replace the wires and well cap and turn on the power to the pump.
STEP 8 – Draw the bleach solution into the house plumbing and fixtures
Go to the faucet and remove the aerator, if present, to prevent it from getting clogged with loosened scale or lime. Run both hot and cold water until you smell bleach or when your chlorine test papers show 50 ppm. If you do not smell bleach or the strip tests below 50 ppm, repeat Steps 5 through 8. Turn off the faucet when you smell the bleach or the test strips shows chlorine levels are at or above 50 ppm.
Repeat this for every faucet, including showers and outdoor faucets, and flush the toilets.
STEP 9 – Disinfection time
Let the bleach solution sit in the pipes for at least 8 hours or overnight, if possible. Do NOT let it sit for longer than 16 hours. Chlorine is corrosive and can cause pipes to leak or burst.
STEP 10 – Remove the bleach solution
Using a hose connected to an outdoor faucet, run the water in an area away from the well, septic system, landscaping and bodies of water to flush the bleach solution from the well. This may take several hours to complete. Once you no longer smell bleach or the chlorine test strips test negative, turn off the water. Drain the water tank(s), then run the hot and cold water faucets until you no longer smell bleach or the chlorine test strips test negative.
Repeat this for every faucet, including showers, and flush the toilets.
STEP 11 – Disinfect water treatment systems and appliances
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to disinfect any water treatment systems and appliances bypassed in Step 1. If you are unable to find disinfection instructions, contact a water treatment or appliance service provider. Bleach may damage the system or appliance and if not disinfected, you may reintroduce contamination.
STEP 12 – Reconnect water treatment systems and appliances
Return bypass valves to the ON position after disinfecting the appliances and water treatment devices.
STEP 13 – Follow-up
To ensure the disinfection process is successful, a follow-up water sample is necessary. Bacteriological sample kits are available at the Perry County Health Department. Wait at least 10 days after disinfection to collect the sample. Waiting allows any residual chlorine to be flushed from the water system. If the sample is positive for total coliform, repeat the disinfection process. Do not be alarmed if multiple disinfections are needed to clean a water system as sometimes the bacteria have been growing for a period of time and require several disinfections.
If the samples are positive for E. coli after disinfection, a more serious problem may exist. The well may have a construction issue or defect that would require the services of a well contractor that holds a permit to do business in Missouri. The website to search for a well contractor in your area can be found here. Contact a contractor or call Well Installation Section staff at 573-368-2165 for assistance.
On-site Sewage: Construction & Repair
Perry County Health Department is contracted with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to oversee the construction, major modification, and repairs of on-site sewage systems in Perry County. Missouri State Law and Department of Health Regulations Governing On-Site Septic Systems requires a permit and an inspection by an Environmental Public Health Specialist. The law applies to:
Properties less than 3 acres and generating 3000 gallons or less of wastewater each day, except where the Missouri Department of Natural Resources may have precedence.
Procedures for obtaining a permit for construction of a new septic system or repair of an existing system in Perry County are outlined below.
- An application and permit fee form shall be obtained from the Perry County Health Department, 406 N. Spring, Suite 1 in Perryville, Missouri. These forms can also be mailed to the applicant upon request. A $90.00 fee is to be sent to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, to the address on the application. This fee can be paid by check or money order, and is non-refundable. Property owner's name and site address must be made available when the applications are acquired.
- Return the completed Application together with a Soil Morphology Report &/or Perc test to the Perry County Health Department. A list of Registered Soil Morphologist and Licensed Perc Testers can be picked up at our office or by logging onto the MDHSS Web site at: https://health.mo.gov/living/environment/onsite/ose/index.php.. Upon verification from MDHSS that the permit fee has been paid, a site visit is scheduled with the owner and/or the Contractor. The Septic system must be installed by a STATE REGISTERED INSTALLER, a list of these installers can be found at https://health.mo.gov/living/environment/onsite/counties/index.php or by contacting the Perry County Health Department.
- After the application and appropriate documents have been reviewed by the Environmental Public Health Specialist (Administrative Authority), and after a satisfactory site visit, the Environmental Public Health Specialist (EPHS) will issue the Permit for Construction.
NO CONSTRUCTION WORK should be started on the proposed septic system UNTIL the PERMIT FOR CONSTRUCTION has been issued.
The Permit expires one year from date of issue.
- The installer or homeowner shall contact the EPHS BEFORE construction begins, giving an opportunity to inspect during construction. Also the installer must give 24 hours notice prior to finishing the system, again giving the EPHS an opportunity to conduct a final inspection while the field and Septic tank are uncovered.
- Upon completion of the septic system, the Environmental department will forward to the homeowner (&/or installer if requested) a final inspection report as well as copies of the application, soils report and the Engineer design (if applicable).
On-Site Sewage Education
There are several training and educational opportunities available through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Basic Registered Installers training course.
For Advanced On-Site Wastewater Treatment (OWTS) courses/info
Advanced OWTS Installer Course.
These two-day training courses are for individuals desiring to become registered with the state of Missouri.
Registered OWTS Installers must obtain 20 contact hours of approved continuing education.
Registered installers may also take on-line courses to earn CEU's, for more information log on the MDHSS web site http://www.health.mo.gov/living/environment/onsite/courses.php.
Onsite Soil Evaluators (OSE) http://www.health.mo.gov/living/environment/onsite/courses.php#InspectEvalCourse Licensed Inspector/Evaluator course
An effort will also be made by the Perry County Health Department to inform the local Registered Installers and Inspector/Evaluators when the Missouri Small Flows Organization or other approved entities will make continuing education classes available in this area.
On-site Sewage: Inspectors/Evaluators
Licensed Onsite System Inspectors/Evaluators (Real Estate Transactions)
Licensed Onsite system Inspectors/Evaluators are licensed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and are authorized to inspect or evaluate existing onsite wastewater treatment systems for real estate transactions. These individuals are not licensed to perform regulatory functions, such as inspecting installation or repairs where an onsite system construction or a building permit is needed.
For a list of Licensed Inspectors/Evaluators in Perry County click here.
The Perry County Health Department does not inspect/evaluate an existing onsite sewage disposal system for real estate transactions.
A licensed Evaluator can only perform evaluations. A licensed Inspector can perform both inspections and evaluations. An inspection provides a thorough assessment of the onsite system and all of its components. The evaluation is a report on the general condition of the on-site system, including any signs of current or past failure. Both the inspection and evaluation include an assessment of the private water system, if one exists.
Maintenance of On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems
Every wastewater system requires care and oversight. To achieve the best performance from your system, it is essential to know what type of Onsite Wastewater Treatment System you have, where it is located, and its basic operation and maintenance requirements. Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems do not last forever, however, upon installing the system, a Registered Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Professional may have provided an owner’s manual tailored to your system that answers these questions and provides a specific service. The following recommendations within these guidelines can significantly extend the life of your onsite or cluster system.
If you have questions concerning health related issues, contact the Perry County Health Department or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at 1-800-392-0272.
Perry County Health Department
406 N. Spring, Suite #1
Perryville, MO 63775
Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday - Friday