Australian Bushfires 2019/20: Fire Affected Water Supplies
Bushfires in Australia are a widespread and regular occurrence, but 2019/20 has seen some of the most destructive ones yet. The effects of these blazes are not limited to properties in the immediate area of the flames, however, as the resulting ash and debris from these bushfires are also capable of affecting water supplies far away. An example of this is reports stating that surface and household rainwater supplies in New Zealand have been affected by the fires in Australia – over 4,000kms away!
The contaminants created by these fires may include: smoke, ash, debris, dead birds and animals, chemicals from burned substances, and fire retardants. The presence of ash and debris in your water supply is unlikely to pose a major health risk but may affect the overall appearance and taste, while dead animals found in tanks and gutters do pose a health risk.
Rainwater that has been affected by the above contaminants need to be treated on a case-by-case basis to ensure all issues are addressed in the correct way, using the best quality products.
While contaminated water supplies are not safe for consumption, there are still a few uses for contaminated rainwater around the household so it is not going to waste, including:
- Garden Watering
- Flushing of Toilets
- Washing Cars and Vehicles
- Fire Fighting
However, it is important to note that any equipment using filters and pumps should be checked for clogging and cleaned as frequently as possible.
Products worth considering if your household rainwater supply has been affected by the bushfires:
- Microlene Acquasafe Liquid Disinfectant Treatment
(Environmentally safe, tasteless and odourless – the Acquasafe formula is used to treat and disinfect tank water supplies. The treatment has the ability to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses present in the water, but remains non-toxic as it breaks down into oxygen and water.)
- Microlene Acquasafe Test Strips
- Aquashield Centurion UV Filtration System
(Davey’s Aquashield Centurion UV is a proven three-stage treatment process for household rainwater supplies, supplied pre-assembled with simple wall-mounted installation.)
Where contamination is particularly extreme within your water supply, it is best practice to have your tank emptied, cleaned and re-filled with clean water.