Pool chemicals can be dangerous, explosive and fatal if they mix with other chemicals or contaminants!
I hope that got your attention! Hello, I’m Dr. Pool, a Research and Development Chemist for In The Swim. Pool Chemicals can be hazardous, but risks can be minimized by following some simple precautions.
Today’s lecture will cover best practices for Transport, Handling, Storage and Disposal of swimming pool chemicals.
Transporting Pool Chemicals Safely
Commercial transport of oxidizers (pool shock) and sanitizers (pool tablets), as well as algaecides and other specialty pool chemicals, is highly controlled. There are limits regarding package size (which is why shock is sold in 1 lb. bags, and each chlorine tablet is individually wrapped) and limits on the total weight of pool chemicals that can be shipped.
Trucks carrying haz-mats (sanitizers and oxidizers) must be placarded, and the driver needs to be trained in emergency procedures, such as how to respond to a spill due to a collision or overturned truck.
Residential transport of pool chemicals is not as regulated. If you buy pool chemicals at a local pool store and drive them back to your home, follow these safety guidelines.
- Check and Tighten all pool chemical caps or lids.
- Secure pool chemicals in large plastic tubs, or boxes.
- Separate incompatible pool chemicals from each other.
- Drive directly home, using caution to avoid accidents.
Handling Pool Chemicals Safely
In our R&D lab, you can’t walk in the door without donning safety glasses and a lab coat. In the backyard, that may feel awkward – although it’s a really cool look! Here’s some ways to reduce your exposure to pool chemicals, as you add them to your pool.
- Read and follow all label instructions before use.
- Use dedicated clean scoops for products which require a scoop.
- Respirators avoid injury opening chemical buckets, or broadcasting chemicals.
- Safety glasses prevent eye injury adding liquid or powdered pool chemicals.
- Gloves keep chemicals off of your skin, and prevent jewelry from tarnishing.
After adding a chemical, return any scoops used to the bucket and seal the lid tightly around all sides. Loose bucket lids allow moisture and contaminants in, and can be unsafe around children.
Clean up any spills around the pool immediately, by using a broom, blower or garden hose. Don’t put this back into the chemical container, but add it to the pool, or dispose of properly.
Which Pool Chemicals are Incompatible with Others? All of them! Oxidizers, sanitizers, acids, algaecides, antifreeze, clarifiers, and other pool chemicals – never allow them to mix!
Storing Pool Chemicals Safely
A proper place is needed to store pool chemicals. A dedicated location, out of the reach of children, which is dry, protected and preferably climate controlled.
Many pool owners store their pool chemicals in the garage or in a utility shed. Some use the pool storage bins that we have, specifically made for storing pool supplies or chemicals around the pool.
A dedicated bin on the floor, with a sturdy lid, is the best place to store pool chemicals. Chemicals on shelves are more apt to easily be knocked off the shelf by someone rummaging for a pool noodle, or for our Californian customers, shaken off the shelf by seismic activity.
Keep pool chemicals separated from each other, in a series of boxes and dividers inside of your pool chemical bin. Never put chemicals into mis-labeled containers, like using an empty chlorine bucket to store DE powder, for instance.
Disposing of Pool Chemicals Safely
How long do pool chemicals last? It depends on the item, but most pool chemicals do not lose potency over time, and could last for many years on the shelf. Pool chemicals may outlast the container they are in, however. Corrosive chemicals like acids or chlorine will slowly eat away at thin containers, eventually bursting at the bottom.
If you can use the old, leftover pool product, it’s probably best to add it to the pool according to directions. If you can’t read the directions but can make out the brand name, you can likely find the use and dosage instructions online.
If you’re not sure what the product is at all, and cannot identify it, you can contact your local landfill and ask if they accept unlabeled pool chemicals for disposal.
Clean out or use up your old pool chemicals to reduce the chance of a dangerous pool chemical incident in your garage or shed!