Splish splash– Pull the Plug? NOT SO FAST!

It’s that time of year – time for a swim! Adults and kids are ready to splash into the cool of the pool to offset hot summer temperatures. But if your pool is way out of the range of sparkling clean and you are considering draining it into the sewer and refilling – Las Cruces Utilities asks that you coordinate with them first.

“It can be a problem when someone suddenly pulls the plug on 25,000 gallons of water,” says Administrator of Water Resources, Adrienne L. Widmer, P.E. “First, pool owners have to consider the size of their own sewer service line into the city sewer complex; we don’t want residents flooding out themselves or their neighbors. Secondly, Las Cruces Utilities doesn’t want anyone flooding out the City’s wastewater lift stations.”

How much water does a swimming pool hold? Average residential swimming pools can range from 20,000 to almost 40,000 gallons of water. An Olympic-sized swimming pool holds 660,000 gallons. It’s a lot of water. During the course of a day, Utilities operators know that there are surges in the flow of wastewater. “Our peak flows are late mornings, early afternoons, and late evenings,” says Mark Rodriguez, interim plant manager of the Jacob A. Hands Wastewater Treatment Facility. “But no matter what time of day or time of year, it’s most important for residents to coordinate with Utilities before pulling the plug on a swimming pool.” 

Pool owners can initiate the conversation by calling (575) 528-3559.

When a resident requests permission to drain a pool into the sewer system, the Utilities Department Water Resources Section reviews the impact of thousands of gallons of water suddenly rushing into the sewer system, and can schedule an appropriate time when there are not high flows in the sewers, monitor, and possibly slow the flow from a swimming pool.  

Pool owners may not realize but, “by City Ordinance you cannot drain your pool into the sewer system,” explains Widmer, “without first coordinating with Las Cruces Utilities and receiving permission from the Director of Las Cruces Utilities.” 

Municipal Code Section 28-187 states: “General sewer use requirements. (a) Prohibited discharge standards. B. Specific prohibitions. (12) Storm water, surface water, ground water, artesian well water, roof runoff, subsurface drainage, swimming pool drainage, condensate, de-ionized water, non-contact cooling water, and unpolluted waste water, unless specifically authorized by utilities director.

Also, it is not okay to empty your pool water onto the street. That’s water waste; the hotline to report it is 528-4444.

Las Cruces is home to approximately 250 inground swimming pools. Experts say if you manage your pool properly, with consistent care and the right balance of chemicals, there should not ever be a reason to drain the pool. 

The one exception is if a pool owner has to make repairs or re-plaster the pool; then partial or complete draining might be necessary. But still, first coordinate and receive permission from Las Cruces Utilities.

You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents.

Summer 2015
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