Bushfires and water tanks

Bushfires are very common in African Savannas, especially during the dry season between May and October. Private water sources in bushfire-affected areas could become contaminated from bushfire ash, fire retardant, debris or dead animals. If the water looks, smells or tastes unusual, do not use it for drinking or food preparation and do not give it to animals.

Bushfires are very common in African Savannas, especially during the dry season between May and October.

Bushfires are very common in African Savannas, especially during the dry season between May and October.

If you live in a bushfire-affected area, you should be aware that your private water source could become contaminated from debris, ash, fire retardants or dead animals. Also, you should not source water from a creek that has been affected by bushfire as the water may be contaminated.

Water drawn from deep bores or wells should still be safe to use. If you suspect contamination, use an alternative water supply for drinking and food preparation. Contact your local council for a list of water carting contractors.

Preventing water tank contamination

The most effective way to prevent contamination of your water tank is to make sure it is properly sealed and to disconnect the downpipes to the tank as soon as there is a bushfire risk. Do not reconnect the downpipes until the roof has been cleaned after the bushfire, either manually or after a flush of rain.

Detecting tank water contamination

If your water looks, smells or tastes unusual, then it is likely to be contaminated. Do not use the water for drinking or food preparation. Water that is not suitable for drinking can still be used on the garden. Water testing is not necessary, as contamination is easily identified by a change in taste, smell or clarity.

Debris or dead animals on your roof or in the gutters should be removed. Use gloves and place in a plastic bag for disposal. Your tank water should be disinfected before re-using.

Disinfecting tank water

Water can be disinfected by bringing it to a rolling boil or by adding chlorine. For every 1,000 litres of water in the tank, you can safely add either:

  • Approximately 125 ml or 125 g of 4 per cent household bleach. Avoid using bleaches that contain detergents or other chemicals, such as perfumes
  • Approximately 40 ml or 40 g of 12.5 per cent chlorine liquid swimming pool chlorine or dairy factory chlorine
  • Approximately 8 ml or 8 g of 65 per cent granular ‘swimming pool’ chlorine.

After chlorinating, you should wait at least 24 hours before using the water to allow for harmful microorganisms to be treated.

When to resume using your rainwater tank for drinking

If the water in your tank has not been contaminated, the water should be safe to use. However, do not reconnect your downpipes until your roof has been cleaned.

Do not use the water for drinking if it looks, smells or tastes unusual. The water and tank should be disinfected prior to use. Alternatively, you can arrange for your tank to be professionally cleaned. Where cleaning involves entering a tank, consider employing a professional tank cleaner. Tanks are confined spaces and can be dangerous to work in. Refer to your local business directory for water tank cleaners.

Things to remember

  • If the water in your tank looks, tastes or smells unusual, assume it is contaminated.
  • Water can be disinfected by bringing it to a rolling boil or by adding accurate amounts of chlorine.
  • If your tank needs cleaning, it is recommended that you contact a specialist contractor, as working in a confined space is dangerous.
  • Water that is not suitable to drink may be used to fight fires or water the garden.

Source: www.sanparks.org and www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au


Should you require water tanks for rainwater systems, greywater systems or any other reason, we recommend polyethylene liquid storage tanks and other products made by JoJo Tanks; click on the links below for more information.

JoJo Tanks South Africa offer a wide range of products such as plastic water tanks and chemical tanks to suit every household, business or agricultural need, including silo tanks and silo tank stands as well as other high quality JoJo Tanks products.  See JoJo Tanks’ VERTICAL TANKS, HORIZONTAL TANKS (transporter tanks), STEEL TANK STANDS and OTHER JOJO PRODUCTS and see JoJo Tanks’ NEW 6000 LITRE UNDERGROUND TANKSAlso see our FAQ and WATER TANK PRICES.

JoJo’s superior polyethylene plastic water tanks and steel water tank stands make JoJo Tanks the leaders in plastic water tank technology and the quality, affordability and 8-year guarantee on these water tanks make JoJo products one of the best choices in South Africa.  *All JoJo Tanks polyethylene tanks and products now carry a 8 year warranty (on tanks purchased on or after 1 July 2013)*  JoJo’s water tanks and chemical tanks come standard with a number of features that are often lacking on cheaper/inferior plastic tanks made by other companies in South Africa. We are authorised JoJo Tanks dealers in South Africa and dispatch orders directly from JoJo Tank depots to save on transport costs. Full range of JoJo Tanks products and JoJo water tanks for sale.  CONTACT US for a quote on the right JoJo water tank or other JoJo product for you.  Special discounts are available on multiple orders of chemical tanks and water tanks and to our commercial and government customers. We can usually delivery tanks and tank stands free of charge to business/commercial addresses in South Africa. SPECIAL ON MULTIPLE ORDERS OF 10000 litre, 15000 litre & 20000 litre JOJO WATER TANKS AND CHEMICAL TANKS…CONTACT US FOR A FREE QUOTE! (15000 litre and 20000 litre JoJo vertical water tanks & chemical tanks are available on order directly from JoJo Tanks’ main factory) Live in the USA and need rainwater harvesting equipment?  Click HERE!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,