Emptying your pool or spa for the season? Make sure you do so safely! Chlorinated and salt water can directly enter nearby ponds and streams. Here is some important information from the City of Newton and the Iowa Storm Water Education Partnership to review before you drain your pool, hot tub or spa:
How can water from pools and spas be harmful?
Water from a spa or pool is routinely treated with chlorine to prevent bacterial growth that can be hazardous to humans. However, chlorinated water is deadly to freshwater aquatic life in Iowa. Discharging water from a pool or spa directly into the storm sewer system is prohibited, protecting the quality of water entering nearby ponds, rivers, and streams.
How should you drain your pool or spa?
Before draining your pool or spa completely, you must discontinue the addition of salt and chlorine. Test to ensure the chlorine is below 0.1 mg/L and the pH is between 6.5 and 8.5 before draining. There are two options for non-salt water discharges. First, discharge directly to the sanitary sewer via a drain in the home. All saltwater discharges should be directed to the sanitary sewer. Contact Newton Water Pollution Control, a division of the City’s Public Works Department, at 641-792-3422 to ensure this is a viable option. Or, discharge the pool and spa water across a flat vegetated area (not directly onto paved surfaces). Drain water over at least 15 feet of grassy landscape first to allow the remaining chemicals to dissipate before reaching the storm drain. Keep the water flow low, about 12 gallons per minute, to prevent erosion of soil and vegetation. Wastewater from backwash filter systems should be directed to the sanitary sewer through a drain in the home.
What is an illicit discharge?
“Illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge not entirely composed of stormwater (EPA). It can include effluent from septic tanks, car wash wastewater, laundry wastewater, improper disposal of auto and household garbage toxins, and water from pools and spas. Pollutants in these discharges significantly degrade water quality in receiving waters and threaten aquatic, wildlife, and human health. Failure to follow the guidelines above could result in a fine under the City code.
Contact the City of Newton’s Public Works Department at 641-792-6622 for more information about properly draining your pool or spa. You can also visit www.IowaStormwater.org to learn more about the importance of preventing stormwater contamination.