There are many great things about having a swimming pool (or a hot tub – or both), but maintenance isn’t one of them. Beyond checking filters, dealing with pool covers, and yanking out leaves, the careful balance of chemistry in your pool to keep it perfect for you and your family while inhospitable to microorganisms is a major chore. So when you find yourself with old pool chemicals after changing brands or finding them expired, it’s a little harder than you might think to dispose of them.
Types of Swimming Pool Treatments
The needs of every swimming pool are different, depending on your location, climate, health conditions, and personal preferences. Pool chemicals fit into three major categories, where you probably have some from all three:
- Sanitizers and Oxidizers: The heavy lifting of these groups is chemicals that keep your pool disinfected. These include chlorine and bromine, as well as additives like cyanuric acid, calcium hypochlorite, and potassium monopersulfate, and products like dichlor and trichlor.
- Water Balancers: Especially with products like chlorine, the pH level of water can get out of balance pH increasers or pH decreasers, or chlorine neutralizers. Also, the water hardness (calcium hardness) may need to be adjusted.
- Specialty Chemicals: Depending on the specific needs of your pool, you may need specialty pool chemicals like algaecides, clarifiers, cleaner enzymes, and phosphate and stain removers.
Hazardous Pool Chemicals
In many pool chemicals, including chlorine-based treatments, the active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite. By itself, it can be a skin and eye irritant, but due to the fact that it’s a highly reactive chemical, it can be much more hazardous when mixed. When mixed with organics, it can cause intense heat and even fires. However, the biggest hazard is the mixing of sodium hypochlorite with other chemicals, which can produce toxic gases, most notably chloramine gas when mixed with ammonia or vinegar, something we also see with hazardous cleaning chemicals.
Handling and Disposing of Old Pool Chemicals
When handling pool chemicals, make sure to handle them with rubber gloves. As mentioned above, avoid mixing chemicals in the containers. When it comes to disposal, do not dispose of it in the trash – as mixing with organic compounds can cause fires. Likewise, do not pour down the drain. Contact your local water treatment facility – many use sodium hypochlorite – and they may accept it. Read the labels to find additional disposal options.
Are you looking for more disposal options? Bring your pool chemicals to one of our NEDT Collection Centers! We accept all kinds of hazardous household products, including many household chemicals, eWaste, automotive products, and more! Contact us today to learn more or give us a call at 1 (866) 769-1621!