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Wells & Wastewater After a Fire

Wells & Wastewater After a Fire

Your well or septic system could be adversely affected by the fire, power outages, equipment failure from fire damage, or contamination of water supplies. Be prepared, and have plenty of bottled water available for drinking and cooking when you return home.

Boil or disinfect water for drinking, brushing teeth, or cooking purposes and for washing dishes or other cooking utensils.

Guidance for Property Owners Impacted by Wildfires with Homes Served by Wells & Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems

Water Use While Awaiting Test Results

While awaiting results of water testing, you can use your water for:

  • Flushing toilets
  • Bathing. Take care to avoid swallowing water

Boil or disinfect water for drinking, brushing teeth, or cooking purposes and for washing dishes or other cooking utensils.

Wells & Wastewater after a Fire


Visually inspect your well and other components of your water system for damage including melted wiring for pumps and the well head. If the well head has been damaged, temporarily cap or cover the well with a 5 gallon bucket to prevent contaminants from entering. If you find damage to your well or water system, contact an appropriate contractor to repair the damage. If your water tastes or smells earthy, smoky or burnt, you may need to thoroughly flush your water lines.

If you have a cistern that was exposed to the fire, have the water in it tested. If you have concerns about water safety, have your Water Testing.

Septic Systems

When returning to your property, inspect the area where your septic system is located for signs of damage from fire and traffic from fire-fighting operations. If you feel your septic system may have been damaged, discontinue use until a licensed professional has inspected the system. The system may have been impacted if:

  • Plastic piping above ground has melted.
  • Evidence of vehicle traffic in the area of the system.
  • The raised system was in the direct line of fire (i.e. grass on top is scorched).
  • There is damage in the area where the pipes enter the home.

What to do When Your Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Experiences a Power Outage

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Water Quality Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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