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Flood, storms and landslips

Storms and private water sources

Is my private water safe?

  • If the water in your tank has not been affected by flood waters, the water should be safe to use.
  • If your water supply tastes, looks or smells unusual do not use it for drinking, bathing or for pets.
  • If your private water source has been affected by flood waters or your private water supply system is damaged, consider this water contaminated.
  • Water supplies sourced from roof-collected rainwater and stored in above ground tanks or deep bores should continue to be safe for use, provided the structure has not been damaged.
  • If your water supply is from a shallow groundwater source (e.g. a well) that has been affected by flood impacted rivers or streams, consider this water source contaminated.
  • If your water is stored in an underground tank that may have, or has been subject to flood water inundation, consider this water source contaminated.

What should I do if I suspect my water supply is contaminated?

  • If your water supply tastes, looks or smells unusual do not use it for drinking, bathing or for pets.
  • You should arrange an alternative drinking water supply.

Will boiling or disinfecting water make it safe?

  • Boiling and disinfecting water kills harmful microorganisms, however this will not effectively remove chemical hazards.
  • Flood-affected rivers and streams may contain chemical contaminants from activities such as farming or toxic blue-green algae. Boiling or disinfecting the water will not make your water safe for drinking or domestic use.

When can I start using my water supply again?

  • Check your tank for structural soundness including cracks, debris, dead birds or other small animals. Dead birds or other small animals found in gutters or within the tank should be removed. Always use gloves and use a plastic bag for disposal. Disinfect your tank as described in the Department of Health and Human Services publication Your private drinking water supply. Your private drinking water supply
  • If you have an underground tank that has been contaminated do not attempt to empty the tank while the surrounding ground is still saturated. Emptying water before the surrounding ground has dried out may result in damage to the tank and associated plumbing.
  • Do not enter a tank. Working in confined spaces is dangerous and should only be undertaken by a professional.
  • Once it is safe, engage a tank cleaning professional to empty your tank, hose out with clean water and sanitise it. Any associated plumbing, guttering, downpipes and roof structures inundated by flood waters or storm debris will also need to be cleaned and sanitised.
  • After your tank has been cleaned and sanitised, refill the tank with water from a source known to be safe.
  • Contact a licensed plumber to reconnect and commission your system.

This page was last updated on 10 June 2021.