Wildfire ashes +water = lye?

Asked September 14, 2020, 1:23 PM EDT

So someone has been saying that when ashes from the fires land in your pets water bowls they become toxic in the formation of lye, is this true? I mean of course I'm not going to chance it, but I just wonder if it is just a rumor.

Contra Costa County California

1 Response

I forwarded your question to a colleague that works on water quality issues for the EPA. Here is his response:

Actually that’s a valid concern. If you let wood ash soak in water for hours to days you would likely get a basic solution that might have a high enough pH to be irritating. I think you’d have to have a lot of ash to get something that is harmful; the amount of ash that would collect in a water bowl might not be enough to cause actual problems. But we should all be giving our doggies fresh water every day anyway.

I hope this response has been helpful.