The end of summer also usually means the end of swimming season for families with backyard pools. In the northeast, many pool owners partly or entirely drain their pools to reduce maintenance and potential damage from freezing during winter. Pool water, however, has high levels of chemicals, particularly chlorine, that may be harmful to wildlife and lakes, rivers, and streams. An average swimming pool holds 19,000 gallons of highly chlorinated water which is toxic to wildlife and fish. Prior to draining a pool or hot tub, let the water sit untreated for at least one week to minimize the chlorine level to less than .5 parts per million. Test the pool or hot tub water to ensure a PH level between 6.5 and 7.8. If the PH and chlorine levels are safe, the water may be emptied into a large open area on your lawn, making sure not to spill over onto your neighbors’ property or any streets, driveways, or other impervious surfaces. Pool water should never be deposited into lakes, streams, ponds, creeks, wetlands, or other bodies of water. Pool or hot tub water may not be pumped directly into a stormwater drain, but must be run over grassy soil. By properly maintaining your pool, you can make sure it provides your family years of entertainment while keeping it safe for you, your family, and your environment.
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