HOW DO SWIMMING POOL DISCHARGES HURT LOCAL STREAMS AND THE AQUATIC LIFE
When swimming pools are drained
improperly, the effect to local streams can be toxic. Chlorine is a highly
toxic gas. The average pool has a chlorine concentration that is 10 times
higher that some aquatic life can withstand. When pools are drained into
storm drains, streets or gutters, the water ends up in local streams or the
Ohio River where it produces by-products such as organochlorines and
dioxins, that are also highly toxic, as well as carcinogenic.
These highly toxic chemicals can
kill some species of just hatched fish and make it hard for other aquatic
life to breathe. Dioxins don’t break down so they remain in our streams and
the river – the same waterways that we all use for swimming and other water
related recreational activities.
What can you do to help keep area
streams and the Ohio River clean and safe? Please follow these guidelines
when draining your pool.
SWIMMING POOL DRAINING GUIDELINES
- As a general rule, the pool
should sit at least 10 days (after the last chemical treatment) to allow the
chlorine level prior to discharge
- Pool water should be essentially free
of chlorine (~ 0.5 ppm total chlorine), algaecides, and other potential
pollutants prior to discharge
- Bubbling, cascading or other forms of
aeration will help to remove chlorine from the water
- When in doubt, test
the pool water to ensure that it is safe prior to discharge
- pH should be
within a normal range (6 to 8)
- If possible, drain pools to a grassy area
on your property. It should not flow directly into a street, gutter,
separate storm sewer or your neighbor’s property.
- When draining to the
sewer, you must use a conduit on your property such as a toilet, bathtub,
shower or sink.
- Pool discharges should be done slowly to prevent
overwhelming public water quality treatment center assets, soil erosion,
flooding, or damage to adjacent properties (including backups into homes and
businesses). The maximum allowable flow rate is 30 gallons per minute per
- No discharges are allowed to the separate storm sewer since it will
reach a water body.
- No discharges are allowed to catch basins since they
are part of the separate storm sewer system. Therefore, you cannot drain a
pool to the street since it will reach a creek or other water body through
- Please call MSD at 587-0603 at least 24 hours prior to the
day that you will be draining your pool if you have questions.