Wells and Wastewater After a Fire

Wells and Wastewater After a Fire

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After a Fire: Wells and Wastewater Safety

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.

Have your water tested before using for drinking, brushing teeth, or cooking purposes and for washing dishes or other cooking utensils. Bacteria and volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds could have contaminated drinking water from pressure loss due to power outages or heat and fire damage to the well, plumbing or structures connected to the well.


  • 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 and test the water.
  • Thoroughly flush your water lines and be sure to change any water filters in your house and appliances.
  • Have your water tested for bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (SVOC’s).
    • Allow the water to sit undisturbed (stagnate) for 72 hours prior to testing.
    • For more information on Water Testing.

Water Use While Awaiting Test Results

While awaiting results of water testing, plan to use bottled water for cooking, drinking and brushing your teeth. You can use the water for flushing toilets.

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:

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Water Quality Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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