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Dive Into Spring, But Protect Water Quality

RALEIGH, N.C. : April 10, 2013 - The N.C. Division of Water Quality is offering tips on how to get your swimming pool ready for warm weather while still protecting streams and lakes nearby.
Although the chemicals used to treat pool water are safe for humans, those chemicals can kill fish, plants and other aquatic life in streams. Pool owners can help protect water quality by following a few simple steps:
• For chlorine pools, lower the level of chlorine to less than 1 milligram per liter before draining the pool. The easiest and most natural way to do that is to leave it uncovered so the water is in the sunlight for 5-10 days without adding more chemicals. If you prefer, de-chlorination kits can be purchased at pool, spa and home supply stores. A pool test kit will help to monitor the chlorine levels.
• Salt water pool systems have become more popular in recent years because of the reduced need for chemicals. However, draining a salt water pool to a fresh water creek will still be toxic for fish and other aquatic life in the stream. Make sure total dissolved solids are below 500 milligrams per liter before draining the pool.
• Dealing with algal growth or “green” pools requires killing the algae first through chlorination before de-chlorinating the pool as described above. You can rinse out diatomaceous earth pool filters in grassy or landscaped areas.
The residue can be used beneficially in the garden or scooped up and thrown in the trash. Some types of filters should be discarded in the trash for solid waste disposal.
• After preparing the pool water for draining, drain the water for several days on the lawn, moving the hose occasionally to prevent erosion. Avoid sending water down the driveway, along the curb or into a storm drain. The storm sewer system leads directly to streams, wetlands, lakes and rivers.
• Store pool chemicals in a secure place where they are not exposed to stormwater and are away from a wellhead.
To learn more about environmentally friendly pool maintenance, please visit http://goo.gl/tJNt4
Source: NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.