NACWA Asks EPA to Consider Impacts of Pool Chemicals and Other Pesticides

(June 11, 2019) - In comments submitted on June 6, NACWA supported EPA’s proposed label language for chlorine gas used as an antimicrobial in swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas.  Since excess chlorine can potentially interfere with the biological processes used to treat wastewater or have adverse aquatic impacts if discharged into storm drains, the Association agreed with EPA’s proposed instructions:  “Before draining a treated pool, spa, hot tub, or fountain, contact your local sanitary sewer and storm drain authorities and follow their discharge instructions.”

NACWA has previously submitted similar comments on other chemicals used in swimming pools, and EPA has responded with consistent labeling for these chemicals.  While wastewater and stormwater utilities may have the ability to work with public and commercial swimming pool operators, it is much more difficult to regulate discharges from the millions of residential pools in the US. 

NACWA has been working with the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA) to advocate for appropriate labeling of pool chemicals as the first step in educating pool owners about proper drainage procedures.

NACWA also provided a statement during a June 10 public meeting on EPA’s revised Endangered Species Act (ESA) biological evaluation method for pesticides.  NACWA asked that EPA consider exposure pathways that concern wastewater and stormwater utilities. 

Pesticides used indoors can be washed into the sewer system when surfaces, clothing, and pets are washed and when people wash their hands and shower.  These pesticides can then pass through the treatment plant and be discharged into the aquatic environments.  Pesticides used on impervious surfaces outdoors are washed off into stormwater systems and can cause aquatic toxicity impacts.

NACWA will also submit written comments on EPA’s revised evaluation method by the July 1 deadline.  NACWA members with concerns or comments about pesticide impacts on wastewater utilities should contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA Director of Regulatory Affairs.