Bunyip State Park bushfires - recovery information

For latest emergency info go to the VicEmergency website. Bushfire recovery information for affected community members >

Tank water 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 


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).

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

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.

If you think the water might be contaminated, it cannot be used for:

  • drinking
  • preparing foods
  • making ice
  • washing and bathing
  • cleaning teeth
  • watering animals.
  • Washing clothes (providing it won’t stain)
  • Flushing toilets
  • Watering the garden
  • Washing cars
  • Fighting fires