A hundred fish were reportedly killed last week after chlorinated pool water found its way into storm drains in Arlington County, Virginia.
According to a tweet posted by the Arlington Department of Environmental Services on Monday, investigators have concluded that "flawed seasonal pool care involving chlorine and overflow" is to blame for the dead fish that were discovered in a creek located in Four Mile Run between South Walter Reed Drive and South Taylor Street.
A large amount of chlorine was reportedly added to the pool at an apartment complex recently, as reported by department spokesman Peter Golkin. "The fish kill in Four Mile Run last week was caused by improper seasonal pool care,", investigators said. The county has contacted both the pool maintenance service and the management company.
“The owners and their pool service people have been very cooperative with the investigation and in making follow-up improvements so such an incident isn’t repeated,” explained Golkin.
Though he acknowledged that recent rains had helped clear the stream, he cautioned that the absence of storm drain filters meant that toxic substances could still be harmful to local wildlife.
“Please be careful,” said Golkin, “All sorts of daily issues, from yard waste falling into curb gutters to pet waste left unbagged to home car-washing and pool maintenance, can add up to a serious collective problem for the watershed.”
“Swimming pool and spa water can have devastating effects on the health of our streams if not disposed of properly,” the Department of Environmental Services claims. “The chlorine, bromine, algaecides, cleaning chemicals and low oxygen levels can kill fish and other aquatic life in streams.”
“Only freshwater that is dechlorinated, pH neutral, chemical-free and clean may be slowly discharged into the storm drain system,” the department website states. Otherwise, swimming pool water must go into the sewer system.
Golkin's explanation regarding the county's regulations on pool drainage comes as “especially timely as this is prime season for closing out pools for the year.”
Additional regulations from Arlington County, VA:
Chapter 26-7 makes it unlawful for any person to discharge directly or indirectly into the storm sewer system or state waters.
If pool or spa water is to be released over-land, the release should be:
- At least 10 feet from the property line
- Monitored and controlled to prevent flooding or erosion of neighboring properties