Safely maintain your pool, spa and hot tub

swimming poolAs the owner of a swimming pool, spa or hot tub, you, and any pool service company you hire, have a responsibility and legal requirement to safely maintain and operate your pool, spa or hot tub in compliance with the City of Guelph Sewer Use By-law (1996)-15202.

Additionally, you and/or the hired pool company are legally obligated to report a spill to either the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and/or the City of Guelph Environmental Protection Officer if your pool water has been spilled into a stream, river, pond, ditch, lake, or storm sewer system.

For additional information related to swimming pool, spa and hot tub permits, please contact
Building Services at 519-837-5615. You can also visit guelph.ca/pools for more information
including permits and water conservation tips.

Types of sewer systems

sanitary sewer

Sanitary sewers collect sewage and wastewater from toilets and sinks in your home. It is then transported to the Wastewater Treatment Plant Facility via the underground sanitary network where it is treated before being released into the Speed River.

storm sewerStorm sewers collect rainwater, melted snow, and surface water run-off through storm grates which are called catch basins. Anything that enters the storm grates directly flows to the nearest creek, storm pond or river. This water DOES NOT get treated!

Types of pools

Saltwater pools use dissolved salts for chlorination. The chlorinator uses electrolysis to break down the salt and release the chlorine into the water to inhibit algae and kill bacteria. As such, a saltwater pool is not actually chlorine-free; it simply utilizes a chlorine generator instead of direct addition of chlorine.

Chlorinated pools use direct applications of chlorine or bromine in liquid or puck form to control algae and bacteria levels. Chlorine is toxic to aquatic life as set out in the City By-law and the Environmental Protection Act.

As the owner of a swimming pool, spa or hot tub, you, and any pool service company you hire, have a responsibility and legal requirement to safely maintain and operate your pool, spa or hot tub in compliance with the City of Guelph Sewer Use By-law (1996)-15202.

Additionally, you and/or the hired pool company are legally obligated to report a spill to either the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and/or the City of Guelph Environmental Protection Officer if your pool water has been spilled into a stream, river, pond, ditch, lake, or storm sewer system.

For additional information related to swimming pool, spa and hot tub permits, please contact Building Services at 519-837-5615. You can also visit guelph.ca/pools for more information
including permits and water conservation tips.

Chemicals

Whether you have a saltwater or chlorinated pool they both contain chemicals that are needed to keep it clean and safe for swimming. These chemicals include chlorine/bromine, salts, copper-based algaecides, nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates.

These chemicals can injure, harm or even cause death to fish and other organisms that live in the creeks, rivers and ponds. The copper in algaecides is particularly poisonous to trout. As such, these chemicals have strict federal, provincial and municipal limits put upon them when released to the natural environment.

Storage

Chemicals should be stored in a cool, dry place that is leak proof and away from petroleum products.

DOs and DON’Ts

DOs

  • Clear debris and leaves from the pool cover before discharging the water.
  • Superchlorinate/Dechlorinate: Superchlorinate the water to get rid of the bacteria, algae and
    organic matter, then follow with dechlorination. Let your pool, spa or hot tub sit uncovered for
    two weeks or longer to allow the chlorine to dissipate naturally. Running the pump will assist
    in chlorine dissipation, as does exposure to sunlight. You may also neutralize the water to
    reduce the chlorine or bromine residual by placing dechlorination tablets in the water.
  • Test your pool, spa, or hot tub water to make sure that the chemical levels have dropped close to zero before discharging it onto your lawn.
  • Drain onto your property (yard) if it can be properly absorbed into the ground without
    flowing onto your neighbour’s property, or into an on-site sanitary system connection such as a
    basement drain or laundry tub. Before trying yard drainage, consider the slope and surfaces of your property, and determine the flow rate at which to discharge the pool water so that it will be absorbed on your property and not flow onto your neighbour’s. Allow the pool, spa, or hot tub water to flow across the lawn so that most sediment is filtered out, and any remaining chemicals in the water are dissipated.
  • Saltwater: Discharge saltwater pools to the sanitary system connection on your property
    (i.e. basement drain or laundry tub). If unable to do so, contact a Ministry of the
    Environment approved and licensed hauler for removal.
  • Report spills: If your untreated pool water has spilled into a stream, river, pond or storm
    sewer system, report it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the Ministry of the
    Environment Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060, and/or to the City of Guelph’s Environmental Protection Officer at 519-837-5629.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t discharge salt water pool to storm sewers. It is absolutely prohibited as it can elevate salt
    concentrations in watercourses and harm the plants and aquatic life. Fish in our area need fresh water, not salt water to survive.
  • Don’t drain onto the street, lane, sidewalk or neighbouring properties.
  • Don’t discharge to a ravine, valley or gully as it will cause soil erosion, vegetation damage and destabilize the ravine, valley or gully.
  • Refrain from adding chemicals less than two weeks prior to pool closing.

For more information

Swimming pool, spa and hot tub permits

For additional information related to swimming pool, spa and hot tub permits please contact Building Services at 519-837-5615. You can also visit guelph.ca/pools for more information including permits and water conservation tips.

Wastewater Services

For questions (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or to report a spill 24/7 call 519-837-5629, TTY 519-826-9771.

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