Tank water after a bushfire
Contamination likely after a bushfire
Your water tank supply may be contaminated by the bushfires from ash, debris, dead animals, or water or retardant used to fight the fires.
If the water tank supply hasn’t been contaminated, this will likely happen when rainwater runs into the tank from the roof and gutters.
Water drawn from deep bores or wells should still be safe to use.
For info on ash in water tanks: EPA website
Disconnect your tank
Here's what you need to do:
- Disconnect the downpipes to your tanks as soon as possible
- Only reconnect the downpipes after your roof has been cleaned (either manually or after a good flush of rain).
If your tank needs rinsing or re-filling
Boiling water does not remove fire retardants or other chemicals from your water. We recommend that you get the tank rinsed and refilled. In partnership with South East Water, we can assist you with rinsing and re-filling – please contact us on 1300 787 624
How to tell if your tank water is contaminated
Contamination is usually obvious, so water testing is not usually required (and can be expensive).
You should assume the tank is contaminated if:
- the water tastes, looks or smells unusual.
- there are dead animals on your roof or gutters or in your tank
- the tank has been burnt by fire and the internal lining material is damaged
- the plumbing to or from the tank is damaged
- the water is cloudy, tastes or smells unusual or has an unusual colour
- the water contains debris or ash
- the water level has increased.
Don't drink contaminated water
If you think the water might be contaminated, it cannot be used for:
- preparing foods
- making ice
- washing and bathing
- cleaning teeth
- watering animals.
What you can use contaminated tank water for
- Washing clothes (providing it won’t stain)
- Flushing toilets
- Watering the garden
- Washing cars
- Fighting fires