Earlier this month, a commercial pool in Columbia, Missouri drained its pool and sent the water into the local stormwater system. The problem? The pool water was chlorinated and it killed hundreds of fish in a local creek.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources said the pool water dump was a violation of Missouri Clean Water Law and Clear Water Commission Regulations since the water contained chlorine levels of 1.5 mg/L, which is well over the .019 mg/L that can kill fish.
So, how do you dispose of your pool water properly so you aren’t responsible for a massacre of local aquatic life?
If you are a homeowner with a pool, check with your municipality, but here are some general guidelines to consider.
1. Allow chlorine to dissipate. Let your pool sit for seven days or until chlorine is undetectable.
2. Neutralize pH. Bring the pH level to 7.
3. Be careful where you drain your pool water. Some municipalities do not allow disposal of water into the storm drain. Others ask that you drain the water across a well-vegetated area to slow it down and aerate it before it enters the stormwater system. Make sure you know where you can drain and if there are any precautions you need to take.
4. Drain the water slowly. If you drain water too quickly, it can erode stream banks.
5. Check your local guidelines. Different areas have different ecology, concerns and ability to handle large amounts of water. Check with your city before you drain to make sure you are doing it properly.
If you are a commercial or public pool operator, contact your local municipality, since commercial pools are often held to separate guidelines and require a permit to drain.
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