Residential Pools and Spas

Cleaning and maintaining swimming pools after fires

November 20, 2019

With devastating bushfire conditions continuing to cause chaos in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, pool and spa specialist network Swimart has provided some key information to help pool owners restore healthy water balance – and provide firefighters with a valuable resource.

Many swimming pools in affected areas and beyond may be experiencing a build-up of ash and debris, greatly impacting the quality of the water.

“After bushfires swimming pools can become contaminated by impurities such as embers, ash and other debris – and this can significantly impact the chemical balance,” says Swimart’s Rick Graham. “The result will be dirty, green or cloudy pool water.”


Firies can use pool water to help fight fires. Image: Swimart

There are several crucial steps pool owners can take to clean and maintain the pool and ensure it can be safely used again:
• To start with, it is important to remove as much debris and ash from the pool and ensure the skimmer and pump baskets are clean;
• Remove as much debris as possible from the surface of the water with a leaf rake;
• Turn the pool pump on to skim any remaining ash and leaves from the surface of the water;
• Take a water sample to your local store to be assessed and they will advise what’s required to safely rebalance your pool water and ensure it’s fine for swimming;
• The service technician will also advise whether the pool requires flocculant;
• If the ash and dirt is substantial, use a liquid or granular flocculant to make the debris and organic matter drop to the floor;
• Clean your filtration. For cartridge filters, remove the cartridge and hose it down. For sand and media filters, backwash and rinse the filter;
• If staining has occurred, see your local retailer for the appropriate solution.

“If any circuits or electrical fittings of your pump, timer or electrical equipment have been damaged by fire, it’s important to get an electrician to first check the electrical outlets are still in good working order,” says Graham.

“Then get your local pool technician to thoroughly check your swimming pool equipment. If needs be, they can prepare a report and quote for your insurance company.

“We also advise pool owners not to empty their pools without first checking with an expert due to the risk of serious damage. The fact is that all swimming pools – whether they’re vinyl-lined, fibreglass or even concrete ones weighing over 50 tonnes – can float when empty. The upward pressure of the water under the floor can actually cause it to lift.”

Pool owners should make sure a Static Water Supply sign is visible from the road.

Help firefighters protect your home and possessions

Did you know that firies use swimming pools to help protect homes? Let them know you have this valuable water source by displaying a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign so that it is visible from the road. The SWS sign is free, so contact your local fire station for more information, or you can make your own as pictured here.



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