Copper accumulates in pools, spas and fountains treated with copper algaecides or where copper pipes are used for plumbing and heating. If discharged to the sewer drain, wastewater treatment plants can remove some, but not all, copper. Trace amounts can reach the San Francisco Bay, harming aquatic life.
Copper is a pollutant that is harmful to most aquatic species and even in small amounts can adversely affect fish, invertebrates, plants and amphibians. Water containing copper that is discharged to San Francisco Bay through storm or sewer drains can upset the ecosystem.
3 steps to maintain a copper-free pool
Prevent algae problems
Routine maintenance is key. Clean regularly, maintain proper chlorine levels and maintain water filtration and circulation to reduce the need for draining.
Reduce copper accumulation
Use non-copper based algaecides: Resolve persistent algae problems with chlorine or other copper-free alternatives, such as polymeric and ammonia based algaecides and sodium bromide.
Reduce pipe corrosion: Manage your pool's pH and water hardness to minimize copper pipe corrosion which may cause copper build-up in your pool water.
Dispose of pool water and waste properly
Test and treat for copper
Check with your local pool supply company for test strip kits. If copper is present you should treat and remove it before draining pool water into the sewer drain. Pool maintenance companies can help you test and treat your pool water.
If your pool, spa or fountain is in EBMUD's wastewater service area, you should test and treat for copper before discharging to the sewer drain. If not in the EBMUD wastewater service area, check with your local wastewater District for their pool discharge guidelines or requirements.
Keep filter media out of the drains
Never clean a filter in the street, gutter, or near storm or sewer drains. Instead, rinse filters over a dirt area and dispose the filter residue into the trash. Wastes accumulated in filters may contain copper from corroded copper pipes and copper-based algaecide products.
Filter water to remove solids prior to discharging to the sewer drain. Copper can accumulate in the solids found in backwash and in your pool water.