On this page:

Make sure your water tank does not get contaminated from a bushfire.

Bushfires can contaminate your water tank with:

  • debris
  • ash
  • fire retardants.

Other pollutants can also enter if you do not properly seal your water tank.

How to protect your water tank from bushfires

Cover your rainwater and water tanks. Disconnect your tanks from downpipes or inlet pipes as soon as you see any signs of bushfire in your area. These actions will prevent debris contamination, which may fall onto rooftops and into gutters that supply your tank.

You should only reconnect downpipes after the bushfire has passed and after cleaning your roof.

How to tell if bushfire has contaminated your water supply

The signs of water contamination include your water looking, smelling or tasting unusual. Do not use the water for drinking or food preparation. Do not give water to animals.

Boiling water does not remove fire retardants or other chemicals from your water.

Do not reconnect tanks until:

  • the rooftop is clean
  • the bushfire has passed
  • the smoke has subsided.

You can also get general advice from the Department of Health in relation to the following:

What you should do to protect your water tank after a bushfire

If you did not disconnect your downpipes before the bushfire passed, disconnect them as soon as possible. You can also:

  • activate the first flush diverters
  • block the inlet to the downpipes with waxed cardboard boxes or thick plastic.

Before reconnecting or opening the inlet to your downpipes, you should either:

  • hose off your roof catchment area
  • clean or wait for a good period of rain to flush and prevent contaminants from entering your tank.

Always take care when cleaning your roof manually. Finding a professional cleaner is a good option.

Before reusing your water for drinking purposes, contact your local council for advice.

Page last updated: 08/09/23