Bushfires and drinking water

Tuesday, 7 January, 2020 - 17:00

Bushfires have the potential to cause a number of environmental health concerns beyond the immediate damage caused by the fire.

We have received a number of questions about drinking water, specifically tank water.  The Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services  have developed a number of resources to assist communities in the event or aftermath of a fire and there is a factsheet on private drinking water and water tank safety.

  • If you live in a bushfire-affected area your drinking water tank could have become contaminated from debris, ash, dead animals or aerial fire retardants.
  • If the water tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not drink it or give it to animals.
  • Water from a river or creek should never be used for drinking or preparing food unless it has been properly treated.
  • Water drawn from deep bores or wells should be safe to use.

If you are concerned, you should source an alternative drinking water supply until you are confident you normal water supply is safe.

Smoke taint alone is unlikely to be a health concern. However, if you are concerned about the taste of your rainwater, use bottled water for drinking and continue to use your rainwater for other uses.

A bushfire affected area is where water retardant and water bombing activities have occurred, and ash has fallen directly onto the properties.

For more information: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 January, 2020 - 17:07