With rain forecast over the coming days, Benalla Rural City Council is urging property owners who have been affected by the recent fires to be aware of possible contamination of private water supplies.
Rain can exacerbate run off of ash and other fire debris into water supplies, said Robert Barber, Municipal Recovery Manager.
“Water sources can become contaminated with debris, ash, fire retardants or dead animals,” Mr Barber said. “If your water looks, smells or tastes funny, it may be contaminated. If you suspect contamination, use an alternative water supply for drinking and food preparation.”
People can protect their water tanks by ensuring the tank is properly sealed and that the downpipes to the tank are disconnected following the fire until the roof has been cleaned, either manually or after a good flush of rain.
More information regarding water contamination and use of affected water can be found on the Better Health Victoria website at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Property owners who are concerned about erosion control should contact the Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI) on 136 186.
“People affected by fire may be eligible for assistance for the cleaning of roofs and refilling of water tanks,” Mr Barber said. They should register with the Council by calling (03) 5760 2600 so that their eligibility can be assessed.
People with other issues relating to fire recovery can also contact the Council for advice and assistance.