This flyer was developed to provide recommendations for appropriate disposal of pool and spa water. It is also available in Adobe Acrobat format here: Pool And Spa Instructions ( Español). Two types of discharges occur from pools and spas: filter backwash water, and high-volume discharges from completely or partially emptying a pool or spa. The water released from each activity must be handled differently.
Backwash Water: Filter backwashing results in frequent, small quantity discharges of impure water from a pool or spa (Approx. 75 gallons). Backwash water commonly contains elevated levels of chlorine and other potential contaminants that may not be released off site. The City/County Uniform Pool and Spa Code requires that backwash water be contained within the property on which the pool or spa is located (Section 314). In most cases, the amount of backwash water generated by pools and spas can be readily contained on site. This water can be used to irrigate salt-tolerant plants (see the back of this flyer for further information). Remember to move the discharge hose frequently, because discharging backwash water to one location can create areas of stagnant water, resulting in mosquito infestations.
Pool and Spa Emptying: On occasion, a pool or spa may need to be partially or completely emptied to carry out repairs or to correct water chemistry. This water should be handled differently from backwash water because:
ONLY when all of the above conditions are met, may the pool or spa be drained. Under no circumstances will a pool or spa be allowed to be permanently connected to a stormdrain, wash, street or alley.
If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact Dennis Ostmeyer of the City of Tucson, Department of Transportation, Stormwater Management Section at (520) 791-4251 or by email at Karen.Rahn@tucsonaz.gov.
Swimming pool and spa backwash water contains chemicals used to control microorganisms and the pH level of the water. Many species of plants are sensitive to these chemicals. However, water from swimming pools and spas can be used to irrigate several salt tolerant plants.
The following lists of sensitive, moderately sensitive, and salt tolerant plants provided below are derived from various publications provided by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service.
|Plants sensitive to salt||Moderately sensitive plants||Salt-tolerant plants|
|Do not use backwash water||Limited use of backwash water||Can use backwash water|
|Fruit Trees||Glossy Privet||Oleander|
|Star Jasmine||Pyracantha||Evergreen Euonymas|
|Fraser’s Photinia||Juniper||Natal Plum|
|Chinese Hibiscus||Bottlebrush||Texas Ranger|
|Willow||Most Acacia Species||Olive|
|Hopbush||Palo Verde||Native Mesquite|
When using backwash water, observe the plants and soil for symptoms of salt accumulation.
For the soil, watch for a dense, hard, cracked appearance or grayish-white color indicating a possible salt accumulation. A common symptom of salt accumulation is slower water infiltration.
For the plants, look for dry, dead areas on the edges and tips of the leaves or a blotched appearance, these may indicate salt accumulation in the soil. These symptoms can also be caused by a variety of other factors including: disease, herbicides, insects, etc.
To avoid these concerns, remember to move the discharge hose frequently.
A good source of further information on these and related issues is your local Cooperative Extension Agent (520) 626-5161. Feel free to contact the City of Tucson, Department of Transportation, Stormwater Management Section at (520) 791-4251.