DEP reminds swimming pool owners to handle wastewater safely

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Private and public pool owners, as well as pool management companies, should remember that chlorinated wastewater must be handled responsibly, Acting DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said recently.

Pools will open in just a few weeks,” Abruzzo said. “Sometimes as swimming pools are cleaned and prepared for summer use, we see fish kills in local streams that could easily have been prevented.”

“Pool owners and professional pool cleaners need to dispose of old water correctly, and to neutralize wastewater containing chemicals such as chlorine and muriatic acid. Most importantly, they need to make sure the wastewater is going into the sanitary sewer, where it’s allowed — not into storm sewers.”

What happens

When chlorinated water is drained from a swimming pool into a storm sewer, it can quickly make its way to a stream or other body of water, where aquatic life can be damaged or killed.

The discharge of swimming pool water to local waterways without a permit is a violation of the Clean Streams Law.

Property owners and pool companies must obtain a permit from their local municipality before disposing of any pool wastewater. This includes pool backwash water, neutralized pool cleaning wastewater and standing water.

Pool wastewater should be discharged into the local sanitary sewer system, if possible. If sanitary sewers are not available, the wastewater should be hauled off site for disposal at an approved treatment facility or otherwise discharged, according to the department’s Swimming Pool Wastewater Discharge Guidelines.

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