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Important information for swimming pool owners in flood affected areas

1 MARCH 2011
Important information for swimming pool owners in flood affected areas  
Swimming Pool & Spa Association warns against unsupervised emptying of pools
The Swimming Pool & Spa Association (SPASA) NSW is warning owners of Kiama's flood-affected pools not to empty their pools without first checking with an expert due to the risk of serious damage.

"Draining a pool whilst the surrounding soil is saturated creates significant structural issues for the pool, plumbing and surrounds," explains SPASA ceo Spiros Dassakis.

"Water pressure under the pool can cause it to pop out of the ground and cause the shell to float like a boat – regardless of whether it's fibreglass, vinyl-lined or concrete."

Most pools are equipped with a hydrostatic relief valve in the floor which will allow ground water to enter the pool to keep the equilibrium and relieve build up of pressure. However, the valve could be faulty or not able to cope with the amount of pressure caused by the ground water.

"Hence we strongly urge all swimming pool owners to consult a licensed pool builder or SPASA pool shop / service technician before draining their pool. It should also be noted that emptying a pool could void the construction warranty," Dassakis says.

SPASA also advises pool owners to take a number of other safety measures.

"We understand the main priority for those affected by floods is cleaning out houses and making them habitable, but it must be remembered that flooded swimming pools present a unique set of hazards. Whilst it's not essential that a pool be restored to use immediately, it is vital to assess the condition of the pool and make it safe before starting any work," adds Dassakis.

"An unused, flood-affected swimming pool is not likely to transmit or become a source of diseases in the short term unless sewage has contaminated the pool. However, as it generally won't be filtered or sanitised, it is important to check for evidence of mosquitoes on a daily basis."

SPASA NSW advice for owners of flood affected pools:

  • Determine whether fencing is intact to prevent children from accessing the pool. If in doubt, refer to your local council for guidelines on pool fencing requirements
  • Secure or restrict access to the area if possible, particularly if fences have been damaged or debris has made the area dangerous
  • Do not empty your pool, as the ground water may have become saturated and the pool could pop or crack. Experienced pool technicians should only empty pool water when it's deemed safe
  • Check the pump house and other structures in case snakes, spiders and other pests have harboured there
  • Have a licensed electrician check the circuits and electrical fittings of your pump, timer and any electrical equipment. This may need to be done in consultation with a pool technician in case electrical components need to be replaced
  • Consult with a pool technician on how to 'flocculate' the pool water. Aluminium sulphate, a flocculant, will cause suspended solids in the water to congeal into a filterable mass and settle to the bottom. The flocculated material should be vacuumed to waste and not filtered, as it will rapidly clog the filter
  • If your pool is full of water but isn't able to be restored, check it daily for evidence of mosquitoes. If mosquitoes and / or lava is detected, speak to a pool technician about how to remove them
  • If the pool water starts to turn green, an algal bloom is developing and you should consult with a pool technician about how to address this
  • Only turn your filter back on once water quality has been restored and an electrician has checked your equipment

Pool owners affected by the floods can contact SPASA NSW on 1800 802 482 or go to for a list of SPASA members, who are appropriately licensed and qualified pool professionals.

For further information, please contact:
Spiros Dassakis
Phone: (02) 9747 6644
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.