How Wildfires Affect Public Drinking Water

July 18, 2018

With Primo, Where There’s Smoke, There’s Clean Drinking Water!

When we think of wildfires, we think of plants and vegetation going up in flames. But, did you know that wildfires can have a negative impact on water systems? Raging wildfires across the U.S. and Canada can wreak havoc on public water systems through ash and carbon.

Fernando Rosario, an associate professor in the University of Colorado’s Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Program, who, with funding by the Water Research Foundation and the National Science Foundation, started studying the impacts and discovered that: “A lower temperature wildfire may be less damaging to the watershed, but by releasing more organic carbon, it creates more problems for water treatment professionals – and likely higher utility bills for consumers.”

A wildfire produces ash and carbon, which enters water sources and elevates the level of organic carbon. A common treatment for these elevated levels of organic carbon is to increase the chlorination level during the water treatment process. When water containing a high level of organic carbon is chlorinated to kill bacteria, viruses, and cysts, a carcinogen called a disinfection byproduct (DBP) can be produced. Sounds nasty, right? Well, good news, Primo has you covered!

Our Primo exchange bottling plants and refill systems can eliminate DBP from a public water supply. Through our 4 or 9 step purification process, carbon filtration and reverse osmosis remove DBP from the water, giving you safe drinking water.