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It’s been several weeks since the height of the choking smoke and ash settled on the Portland area. Thankfully, fall rains came early and have helped to contain our area wildfires. But we’re still hearing about folks who are concerned about ash in swimming pools and are wondering what to do about it. Today’s blog is dedicated to the maintenance of pools that have smoke and ash contamination.These guidelines come from the Health Care Agency in Orange County, California, where there are a whole lot of pools—and a great familiarity with wildfires.Do not allow use of the pool until the following steps have been completed:

  1. Clean skimmer baskets of debris and skim water surface of pool with pool net to remove floating debris.
  2. Brush sides and bottom of pool to loosen contaminants, and vacuum pool.
  3. Backwash and clean the filter, discharging waste to municipal sanitary sewer only. If connected to a septic tank system, discharge the backwash to a pervious surface (gravel, lawn, open space) to allow for infiltration without erosion. Backwash to the storm drain system (alleys, driveways, streets, storm drains) and creeks is prohibited by law.
  4. Check free chlorine level and adjust to minimum of 1.5ppm.
  5. Check pH and adjust to between 7.2 and 8.0.
  6. Ensure the recirculation system is operating properly by checking filter pressure and/or flow meter.
  7. Depending on the amount of smoke and ash in the air, these steps may need to be repeated after cleaning the filters.
  8. If needed, contact a pool service to clean the pool.  Pool service operators are also prohibited from discharging backwash to the storm drain system.
  9. Clean the pool deck and dispose of the debris with the rest of the solid waste. Don’t hose down the deck to storm drains. Spray lightly first to minimize dust and ashes from becoming airborne, then use a stiff brush or broom to sweep up and put in trash. A mop and bucket could also be used for clean up, disposing the waste water into a sanitary sewer line.

As always, if you have any questions, give us a call.

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