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Smoke Taint in Water Tanks

smoky Published Tuesday, 7th January 2020

Council has been receiving a number of enquiries relating to a smoke taint taste in tank water. This is due to smoke particles in the air settling on roofs which is then washed into water tanks.

Update received 4.30pm, 7 January, 2020

Tank Update



Smoke taint is acidic in taste but not usually a health risk.

Please find some updated information below. The following information applies for non-fire affected areas:

We haven't had official advice on filtration systems but the particles can be quite small. Best to speak to filtration manufacturers for their advice.

1. What happens if I drink the water?
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 using your rainwater for other uses.

2. Do I need to dump water from my tanks and clean them?
Water in tanks should not be ‘dumped’ or cleaned at this time as it is likely more smoke will impact the South Gippsland area over the coming days/weeks.

3. Does boiling your water make it drinkable/potable?
No. Tank water contaminated with smoke/ash does not need to be disinfected (boiled, chlorinated, etc) as the contamination is not biological – disinfecting your tank water will not remove the smoke taint.

4. Can stock drink water from tanks or dams?

5. Where can I go locally to find drinkable/potable water?
Containers can be filled with potable water from South Gippsland Water bottle refill facilities located at –

• Foster - Steampunk in laneway
• Leongatha – SPLASH and Mary Mckillop Soccer Oval
• Korumburra - Basketball Stadium
• Inverloch – Inverloch Hub, Rainbow Park and Inverloch SLSC

6. Can I use water on my vegetable gardens?
Water not suitable for drinking can still be used on the garden.

7. Where can I purchase PH strips from?
Hardware stores, pet stores and pharmacies.

8. Should I wear a protection (P2) mask?
People are encouraged to wear P2 masks if they need to spend extended periods outside. Masks can be purchased from hardware stores, workwear stores and similar.
N95 masks can also be used to filter out bushfire smoke although these are usually more expensive and not as readily available.

9. Will there be compensation/subsidies for water?
There are currently no subsidies or compensation available as South Gippsland is not in a bushfire impact area.

10. Where can I find out more?
Further information can be found in the following DHHS publications:

After a Fire - Community Information
Private Water in Bushfire Affected Areas