Bushfire & burn damage
The EPA provides advice on disposal of burnt items from bushfires and other waste management issues.
CCA treated timber
The chemicals and heavy metals present in the ash from burnt CCA treated timber poses a risk to groundwater and surface water quality, human and animal health, and soil quality.
CCA treated timber, when wet, generates a leachate that contains traces of heavy metal salts of copper chromium and arsenic, which may impact on soil and ground/ surface water quality in some environments.
Handling burnt or damaged timber
The highly toxic chemicals from burnt timber remain largely concentrated within the ash or are dispersed within a limited range of the burning site. This poses a health risk to persons in the immediate vicinity.
- When handling CCA treated timber or ash, appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn to avoid contact with and inhalation of burnt timber CCA ash, including but not limited to wearing impermeable gloves, eye protection, protective face mask/dust mask, clothing with long sleeves/trousers and suitable enclosed footwear.
- If CCA treated timber or ash is stored/stockpiled prior to disposal, storage should occur on an impermeable surface and be covered to prevent leaching and further dispersal of ash to the surrounding environment.
- Stock, pets and children should be excluded from areas containing CCA ash to prevent ingestion of harmful chemicals.
- A licensed waste transporter should be used to transport CCA waste to an appropriate landfill site.
- Treated CCA should be separated from other wastes. Remove the treated timber/ash from all other wastes. Wire, other timber, building materials, plastics, and vegetation should be separated and disposed of appropriately.
- Separation of CCA treated timber will facilitate disposal and recovery processes for each material. The presence of CCA treated timber in waste delivery may impact on both disposal options and disposal costs for the load.
- CCA treated timber or ash should not be retained on site or used as mulch or ground cover.
- Chipping the material increases the surface area and increases leachate potential.
Do not dispose of CCA treated timber by burning or burying on site.
Contaminated water in rainwater tanks
The EPA is providing advice on disposal of contaminated rainwater to water courses from bushfires and other waste management issues.
Water in rainwater tanks may be contaminated with ash and residents may desire to drain and discard the water to a watercourse and clean the tank.
For further assistance, please contact us on (08) 8204 2004/1800 623 445 (country callers) or by email.
Disposal of water to watercourse, creek or dam
SA Health has stated the water is safe for drinking but may be tainted for colour, taste and smell so consider the information in this fact sheet to ensure that your rainwater supply is suitable for drinking.
It is important to follow these steps during the process of draining a tank to a creek or dam.
- Place a hay bale, geotech material or similar between the outlet and the creek to prevent erosion and the transport of ash to water storages downstream. This may not be necessary if draining to sewer.
- Drain the water at a slow rate to ensure that the hale bale can effectively filter the ash and also prevent erosion.
The bushfire recovery website has more information on managing water resources.
The EPA provides advice on handling and disposal of burnt or damaged chemicals and other waste management including bushfires. For further assistance, please contact us on (08) 8204 2004/1800 623 445 (country callers) or by email.
- When handling burnt or damaged chemicals and their containers for disposal, appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn to avoid contact with and inhalation including but not limited to wearing impermeable gloves, eye protection, protective face mask/ dust mask, clothing with long sleeves/pants and suitable enclosed footwear.
- Stock, pets and children should be excluded from affected areas to prevent ingestion of harmful chemicals.
Storage and disposal
- If burnt or damaged chemicals and their containers are to be stored/stockpiled prior to disposal, storage should occur in a bin or container which can contain any leakage and prevent dispersal of ash. Alternatively, such items can be stored on an impermeable surface such as a concrete, paving or bitumen and be covered to prevent leaching and further dispersal of ash to the surrounding environment.
- A licensed waste transporter should be used to transport chemical wastes to an appropriate landfill site.
Bushfire-affected animal carcasses
The EPA is providing advice on waste management, disposing of animal carcasses and other issues that may arise from the current bushfire situation.
Animal carcasses must be carried out without compromising the more pressing needs of farmers, residents and emergency services. The EPA will render assistance to farmers and emergency services to undertake this necessary activity while protecting water resources.
The EPA and PIRSA recommend that affected farmers and residents should contact their insurers prior to disposal of stock.
This information will assist farmers and emergency services in the initial review of the safe and appropriate disposal of animal carcasses under local conditions, and should be read in conjunction with PIRSA advice.
Contact us on (08) 8204 2004, 1800 623 445 (country callers only) or email.
Preferred method of disposal
Isolated bushfire affected carcasses located throughout a property in the order of 10 per hectare (10/Ha) can be left to decompose naturally on site.
Dry rendering at an abattoir is the usual preferred method of carcass disposal, but following a bushfire this may not be a viable option. Burial is the preferred option for disposal of larger numbers of carcasses.