April 29, 2015 - 7:31 PM
OKANAGAN - Backyard pools are a source of fun and relaxation for many Okanagan homeowners but if improperly drained they are a source of excess chlorine and contaminants for Okanagan Lake.
“Chlorine is unfriendly to the lake and the surge of people emptying their pools and hot tubs in the spring and fall adds to that,” City of Kelowna pump operations supervisor Adrian Weaden says. “This is where we get our drinking water."
The problem arises when people snake a hose into the nearest storm water catch basins along residential streets or run water into floor drains or sinks inside their homes.
“The water emptied into the storm sewer eventually ends up in the lake. Whatever is built up in the pool, algae and sediment, ends up in the lake too,” Weaden says. "Running it down the drain in your house is discouraged as well. It just increases the hydraulic loading on the waste water treatment plant.”
Sanitary sewer storm drain regulations throughout the region restrict the discharge of pool water containing chlorine, salt water and bromine into sewers and provides for fines up to $2,000 and even six months of jail to home-owners who violate it.
“If someone spots a hose running into a storm sewer then reports it to bylaw, they will pay them a visit,” Weaden says.
However the city much prefers education to enforcement and urges homeowners to slowly drain pools and hot tubs onto a dry area of their own property.
“We’re trying to educate people and do the best we can to protect our drinking water,” Weaden says. “Some people think it’s not a big deal but it’s the thin edge of the wedge as far as contamination goes.”
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