As the weather gets warmer, swimming pool owners are beginning to prepare their pools for the summer months. For many, this includes draining pool water to clear debris, make repairs, and conduct other maintenance activities. However, improper drainage of swimming pool water can harm local streams and aquatic life. There are a number of steps that pool owners can take to properly drain their pool and help protect their local waterways.
As a first step, residents should always contact their local government to obtain any approvals that may be necessary to drain pool water. For chlorine pools, any chlorine or bromine should be removed by allowing the water to sit for at least 10 days while the chemicals dissipate or with the use of a removal agent. Water should then be tested to ensure that chemical levels are less than .1 mg/L and the pH is between 6 - 8. Pool owners should also clean out as much debris as possible, including leaves, algae, and sediment, prior to drainage.
Notably, drainage guidance differs between chlorine and saltwater pools:
Once chlorine is removed, pool water can be drained into a local sanitary sewer system or slowly released onto a grassy or vegetated area over the course of several days. Water should be drained in an area that avoids any direct discharge into nearby storm drains and waterways. Pool owners should monitor discharge and redirect the flow of water if any erosion or flooding begins to occur, or if water is flowing onto adjacent properties.
Water from saltwater pools should never be discharged into the yard or nearby storm drain. Instead, pool owners should drain the water into their local sanitary sewer system or hire a licensed water service to transport the water to a publicly owned treatment facility for disposal. A local water or sewer authority may have additional recommendations for saltwater pool drainage and should be contacted to determine the most feasible disposal option.
For additional best practices for pool drainage and to learn about other ways that you can reduce local pollution, visit the Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners website: www.onlyrain.org.
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