Water being discharged from swimming pools into stormwater systems has the potential to harm our streams and rivers, says Waikato Regional Council.
Recently staff responded to a call about swimming pool water being discharged into a small stream in the Hamilton suburb of Melville. It was found that a resident had been vacuuming their pool water directly into the stormwater system, rather than the waste water system. The water was then travelling into the nearby stream.
“It’s that time of the year when people are cleaning their pools in preparation for the hot weeks ahead,” said the regional council’s incident response team leader, Wayne Reed.
“Chlorinated water poses a threat to freshwater ecosystems. So we strongly urge pool owners to check their systems are correctly plumbed to send pool water into the waste water treatment system and not into the stormwater system.”
Regional council staff have attended similar incidents which had resulted in eels and other aquatic life being killed.
“In Hamilton, the stormwater systems all end up flowing into a fresh water stream and then into the Waikato River,” he said.
Discharging chlorinated water is a breach of the Resource Management Act 1991, and leaves the responsible person liable to penalties.
Hamilton City Council’s (HCC) bylaw also prohibits discharging through its stormwater system substances that can impact the environment.
The regional council is working with HCC to address this issue, as it’s likely there will be a large number of pool owners in this situation.
HCC encourages people to consider alternative ways of disposing of unwanted water, such as in gardens, before diverting to its waste water system. People wanting advice can call the city council on 07 838 6699.