Understanding the Impacts of Wildfires on Water Quality
Source articles, "Wildfires: How Do They Affect Our Water Supplies?"
Lake Berryessa, at Spanish Flat
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
The increase of wildfires in the state of California has not only impacted the destruction of land and vegetation, wildlife, air quality, property and human life, but water quality. There are several factors that fire has on our water sources, storage and transportation. Contamination from ash infuse creeks, streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The vegetation that holds the soil in place is damaged and destroyed and thus rain water flushes larger amounts of fire and soil contaminants into the water sources. The impacts and threat of fire created pollutants in our water sources and supplies add further concerns to a delicately balanced system of supply, demand and quality.
"Just as wildfires impact air quality, they can also affect the quantity and quality of water available. Water supplies can be adversely affected during the active burning of a wildfire and for years afterwards. During active burning, ash and contaminants associated with ash settle on streams, lakes and water reservoirs. Vegetation that holds soil in place and retains water is burned away. In the aftermath of a large wildfire, rainstorms flush vast quantities of ash, sediment, nutrients and contaminants into streams, rivers, and downstream reservoirs. The absence of vegetation in the watershed can create conditions conducive to erosion and even flooding, and naturally occurring and anthropogenic substances can impact drinking water quality, discolor recreational waters, and may potentially contribute to harmful algal blooms."
Many water sources throughout the state of California have been affected by fire and fire related pollution. Eyasco’s role in this is to gather and supply data at critical points of the water’s path. Scientific sensors that gather information such as temperature, pH levels, conductivity, turbidity, flow, levels, etc. help allow water managers to understand the quality of the water where they are studying. With pollution being the primary concern to the water sources, understanding the amounts and types is helpful to determine what corrective actions are needed for public and wildlife safety.
Implications for Drinking Water Treatment
Read USGS article
Water Quality after a Wildfire
Eyasco's contributing role in water quality
Eyasco Inc. designs hardware and software systems to automatically monitor water quality for applications in lakes, rivers, springs, estuaries and canals. Our systems will interface with any sensor including multi-paramter sondes or in-line instruments typically used in the water treatment industry. Over the years we have developed innovative techniques to measure water quality and to detect abnormal water quality events with mission critical implications. All our monitoring systems can integrate with just about any other system and can always transmit data to your desktop or mobile device in easy to read formats. Timely, reliable notification can improve health and safety, and well-managed easy to access historical data can be used to predict future trends. Armed with this information, water management teams have then ability to keep, change or adjust to water usage behaviors.
You can read more about Eyasco’s Water Quality QuB stations by clicking on the Water Monitoring or Installations buttons below.
Eyasco's Water Quality PAD - A floating platform monitoring system with sensors deployed in the water column beneath it. The platform makes it easier to calibrate and service the sondes. If space is restricted, there is also a buoy option.
The lighter, compact 4th Generation WQ QuB is a portable water quality system with optional mobile communications capabilities that can be deployed anywhere to monitor drinking water quality. It includes sensors for pH, conductivity, turbidity and free chlorine. It is easy to setup (just connect power and water) and service. Calibration is easy and Eyasco's mobile tools integrate seamlessly.