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Mar 4, 2022

How do floods affect my tap water?

The Pure Water Systems Blog

Floods have been reported as being the most expensive natural disaster in Australia and have a severe impact on the community. Loss of life, damage to business and property, and social disruption can cause great financial and emotional hardship. Flooding also provides a breeding ground to waterborne diseases which pose a risk to our health, especially when they infiltrate our drinking water supplies.  

But where does your tap water come from?   

The majority of our tap water is sourced from a combination of rivers, dams and recycled water plants. Before reaching our homes, it is treated with a process involving up to 30 different sterilisation chemicals including chlorine, ammonia, copper sulfate and fluoride.

So how do floods affect your tap water?

Flood water contaminates the water source

As a result of flooding, water treatment plants can be overrun by the vast increase in volumes of water and contaminants including foreign matter collected as flood waters course. In turn this can cause treatment plants to become overwhelmed, allowing untreated water to pass through and enter our water supply (this has also happened after major bushfires).

This leads to instances where our water systems have to rely on emergency sources, often creating the paradox of water restrictions imposed despite the abundance of rain and flood water visible all around us.

Increased concentration of chemicals to treat water

Water is referred to as the ‘universal solvent’ because it is capable of dissolving more substances than any other liquid. This makes it easy for a wide variety of sediments to find their way to your kitchen tap including: 

  • Heavy metals
  • Grit
  • Debris and foreign objects
  • Arsenic

Simply put, heavy flooding often causes a significant increase in the amount of debris and foreign objects that contaminate the water supply. Therefore, more disinfectant chemicals are required to treat your tap water to meet Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) standards.

Chlorine is an excellent chemical for killing bacteria, viruses and parasites in your drinking water. When diluted, it is non-toxic however studies have shown that even in small doses chlorine can negatively impact your gut health.

How do floods affect your tank water?

Tank water can also be compromised by excess flooding as floodwater can contain harmful contaminants like bacteria and sewerage which can seep into tank water systems. People who rely on tank water should take caution and clean their tanks when it is safe to do so. Information on water tanks after a natural disaster is available here.

Best way to remove unwanted contaminants from your tap water after a flood

Flood and contaminated water require a higher concentration of chemicals to sterilise to a safe drinking level. An increasingly popular solution to removing these chemicals is making the switch to filtered water, a green and pocket friendly alternative to bottled water.

Carbon water filters are a popular home filtration solution. They effectively remove chlorine, parasites and contaminants that may pass through your kitchen tap as a result of heavy flooding.

Alternatively, Reverse Osmosis (RO) is considered the ultimate in water filtration, providing the highest quality water. It removes up to 95% of chlorine, 98.5% of copper and 98.6% of lead, conveniently at the turn of a tap.

Check out Water Filters VS Reverse Osmosis for the ins and outs of both so you can make an informed decision.

Both types of filtration and purification systems are available as easy DIY install or neatly plumbed Under Sink options.

If you are interested in finding out more, call our friendly water experts today to find the perfect water solution for you 1300 808 966.