Ash/Smoke - Fire Affected Water Supplies

With the widespread devastation of the current Australian bushfire disaster, we have been inundated with questions from households with fire-affected water supplies. This article is designed to inform and advise dealers on how to assist with these enquiries. 

Ash or ashes are the solid remains of the fire. In the case of large bushfires/wildfires water supplies, particularly tank & surface water supplies in the immediate area, are contaminated by ash and smoke; often this ash contamination also affects water supplies a long way away - for example, New Zealand water tanks have been affected by Australian bushfires. 

The possible contaminants include smoke, ash, debris, fire retardant, dead birds or animals and also metals & chemicals from burned substances. The presence of ash and debris in rainwater is unlikely to be a health risk, but will likely affect the appearance and taste. Fire retardants currently used in Australia and New Zealand are of low toxicity, but may also affect the appearance and taste of rainwater. Rainwater contaminated by a bushfire needs to be treated on a case-by-case basis, due to the many unknowns created by a bushfire. 

To be 100% sure of your water supply we would recommend that the water in each case be tested by a certified laboratory before drinking, including testing for Arsenic and Chromium. 

For sediment/ash removal, we suggest a 5 to 20 micron PL Series sediment filter, and for smoke smell/taste we would recommend an activated CB Series silver impregnated carbon cartridge. In most cases, there is also the possibility of bacteria like E.coli, so we would recommend Ultraviolet sterilisation (eg. HYBRID-G13) & sanitisation (eg. Tanksafe). Then there are other considerations like flow-rates, how many people live in the home etc. 

We would also point out that filters may need to be changed more frequently, due to the higher than usual content of contaminants. 

These are the filter kits we’d recommend:


Undersink
Taste & Odour Reduction

 
PUREMIX Z7

 

Wholehouse
Taste & Odour Reduction

 
WH2-60

 

Wholehouse
Bacteria Protection and Taste & Odour Reduction

 
HYBRID-G13

 

 



Please contact the Puretec team if you have any questions at all.