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Pennsylvania

DEP: Don't drain water from swimming pools into storm sewers

Jeff Himler
| Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, 9:06 p.m.
Taking advantage of the steamy hot late August weather area residents headed to the local pools to cool off. Caroline Booth, 5, of Plum, enjoys an end of summer swim at the Samson Family Y pool in Plum on Wednesday, August 29. Lillian Dedomenic | For the Tribune Review
Taking advantage of the steamy hot late August weather area residents headed to the local pools to cool off. Caroline Booth, 5, of Plum, enjoys an end of summer swim at the Samson Family Y pool in Plum on Wednesday, August 29. Lillian Dedomenic | For the Tribune Review

Pennsylvania owners who have yet to shut down their swimming pools for the season need to drain the contents carefully to avoid potential harm to the environment.

Discharging water, that may be laden with chlorine or other chemicals, from a swimming pool into any public waterway in the state can harm aquatic life.

It also is a violation of Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law that can result in enforcement action, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The law applies to public pools as well as private ones.

Pool water must not be discharged into any storm sewer or on to any land where a storm sewer is accessible. Resulting runoff could lead to fish kills and unsafe aquatic conditions, the DEP notes.

“…We need to make sure the waste water is going into the sanitary sewer, where it may be allowed — not into our storm sewers, where it will run into streams and could harm aquatic life,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a press release.

DEP offers the following tips for draining a swimming pool:

  • Pool water may be disposed of through the local sanitary sewer system, with municipal permission.
  • Never dispose of pool water through a storm sewer, which will discharge into a stream.
  • When lowering the water level in a pool, allow it to drain onto a lawn to prevent it from running off into a storm sewer.
  • If a sanitary sewer system isn’t available, pool water may be used for irrigation — provided it doesn’t run off the property or into a storm sewer.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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