a man diving into a pool in a backyard

Stay Cool, Don’t Pool-lute!

Photo by Lachlan Hardy, used under Creative Commons License.

As the days heat up and summer comes into view, remember to keep an eye out for signs of water pollution near you (and let us know about it!).

Earlier this month we received several reports through our Pollution Reporting Hotline about a heavy discharge coming from a pool at a large apartment complex in Baltimore City. The discharge was creating runoff that was flowing into the stormwater system, which goes directly from the street into the nearby Stony Run stream. All the trash, oil, and debris from the street gets swept along into the stream as well, and the influx of water can wreak havoc on the underground pipes and receiving waterway.

Several keen-eyed community members noticed this unusual discharge, and reported it to us immediately.  Blue Water Baltimore alerted the Maryland Department of the Environment to the discharge, and the agency sent an inspector to investigate.  Blue Water Baltimore also discovered that the apartment complex didn’t have the correct permits needed to flush out a pool system like this.  These permits are more than just paperwork, they ensure that proper water quality testing is being done to protect people and the environment.

Ultimately, this apartment complex will need to secure the proper permits to operate the pool, and follow the law when it comes to reporting and maintenance.  We would never have known about this source of pollution without caring and vigilant community members who saw something odd, knew it wasn’t right, and took the time to let us know about it.  So this summer, keep your eyes open and let us know when you spot pool-lution, sewage overflows & backups, fish kills, and anything else that seems out of the ordinary.

If you have your own pool, make sure to follow this Swimming Pool Guidance from the Maryland Department of the Environment. It’s important to keep harsh pool chemicals like chlorine and muriatic acid out of our sewer pipes, and especially out of our streams and rivers.  These chemicals can be properly disposed of during Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days at the Northwest Residential Drop-Off center located at 2840 Sisson Street, Baltimore MD 21211 (see schedule below).  Baltimore County residents can drop off pool chemicals during normal operating hours at the Central Acceptance facility located at 201 W Warren Rd, Cockeysville, MD 21030.

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