As the weather gets warmer, Iowans with swimming pools will start cleaning them out and filling them up for the summer season. Mike Wade of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says they’re working to help Iowans prevent problems from the chlorinated water in the pools.

Wade says they’re developing some guidelines and rules to help people, and says one basic rule is you don’t want to empty chlorinated pool water directly into a storm drain as the water will go directly to a stream. He says that chlorinated water can kill fish and aquatic insects in the water. Wade says a recent fish kill in a stream near Marion is believed to be linked to discharge from a swimming pool. Wade says dumping chlorinated water directly into a stream is technically illegal.

Wade says it’s best to make sure if you’re going to dump water that you let it set for awhile to allow the chlorine to dissipate, and then check the water with your home kit to see if it contains chlorine. He says the worst thing is when you “super chlorinate” to clean out a pool or a hot tub, and then dump out the water. Wade says if the water is drained out over grass where it won’t end up in a stream, then that’s not as big a concern.

Wade says people might not think chlorinated water is dangerous, because the water from our taps has chlorine in it to make it safe to drink. But he says people who have aquariums at home know that the first thing they have to do is de-chlorinate the water so the fish don’t die by adding a de-chlorinater, or running it through a charcoal filter.

Wade says chlorinated pool water in a stream will have the same impact of chlorinated water in an aquarium. Wade says you shouldn’t dump anything into a storm drain that can pollute a stream. He says whatever you dump down the drain could end up where somebody’s kids, or your kids, are playing. Wade says there won’t be any charges filed in the Marion case as there was no direct evidence of chlorine in the stream.