Swimming pool draining to "nowhere"


I have been trying to figure out my pool pump problem with a possible skimmer line or main drain line leak...and finally found a leak detection expert and had to open up the concrete deck to access the broken PVC pipe and got it fixed. Everything seems to be fine, until last yesterday...
It rained a few inches two days ago, so the pool water is now several inches higher than the skimmer opening. So I decided to open the drain line valve to drain off a few inches...big mistake.
About twenty feet from the pump and filter assembly on the other side of the house suddenly a pool of water began to seep up quickly (do you remember the movie Meet My Parents where Robert Dinero was walking on a wet lawn? Yeah that's it). I immediately went to close off the drain valve and the water puddling stopped.
So it appears even the house (which I bought a few months ago and now doing repairs and finding a lot of surprises) is on city sewer, at one point in time the house must have been on septic tank and the pool drain is draining to the septic tank and I bet the septic tank is under the puddle of water. So now what do I do? Do I need to re-route that pool drain line to the sewer line?
This is not a pleasant surprise! I don't know if this is something a normal inspector would have checked, but mine sure did not. This is going to be very costly.
MC
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MiamiCuse writes:

Given that your diagnosis is correct:
Does the local code require or permit draining to the sanitary sewer?
Does the local code permit draining to your lawn or storm drain? (The SFWMD is actually *requiring* this during the drought in Miami/Broward/Palm Beach counties!)
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For what it's worth, my pool filter drains out a hose. You unroll it out to wherever you want the water to drain. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. An unused septic tank sounds like a great place for the water to go, even then it's a lot of water to handle all at once.
Ask at your local pool place, they'll know what's the norm for where you live. Don't lose any sleep over it.
nancy
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Nancy Young writes:

If he runs 10,000s of gallons putrid water onto his neighbors lawn, he just may lose some sleep over it.
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Why not just dig a hole, line it, drop a sump-pump down it and pump the excess into the sewer, or even water your garden with it? Water is too good to waste JR The Netherlands.
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message

I just ran some pvc underground from my filter backwash outlet to the side of the drive way. I cut it off flush at ground level so you can mow right over it and it just blows onto the drive and down it into the storm sewer. Easy, neat, unobtrusive. Those rollup things I found to be a pain....
cheers..
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Make sure that dumping pool water into the storm drain is allowed first. Around here, storm drains may run into natural streams which are also the home of live fish, particularly during spawning season. Pumping a pool full of chlorinated water into the storm drain may kill all the fish in the stream - something that actually happened a year or so ago. The pool owner was in trouble, because pools were required to drain into the sanitary sewer.
    Dave
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (MiamiCuse) says...

More likely it's a dry well, or perhaps another broken pipe. I would vote for a dry well. There is no way a septic could handle having a whole pool full of water pumped through it. If the soil was saturated after a big rain, a dry well might not have disposed of the water fast enough. Try draining in dry conditions, or a little slower, and it may function just fine. If not, just pipe the discharge to the sanitary sewer line.
You might dig up the wet spot and see what is going on down there.
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(MiamiCuse) says...

Yes this will be my next project to dig it up and find out what is going on. It does not make sense at all.
The pool is 30' x 20' and varying depths from 5' to 9' so it's over 25000 gallons. When I opened the drain valve to drain the water, I count 1001-1002-1003 and I see the puddle show up at 1030. So if I have a big storm and 4 inches in order to drain 4 inches of water so the level return to the proper skimmer opening location, I will never be able to drain that volume of water.
But then again, why would someone drain pool water into the septic tank to begin with, that makes no sense. So perhaps it is a dry well. There is a 32" diameter ound stone tablet about 5" thick on top of this thing.
There is no near by storm drain inlet. The closest one is at about 190' away.
Thanks,
MC
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MIami, lets step back for a sec. I am a certified pool contractor. First, in MIami, you never need to drain the whole pool (if you did, it would likely pop out of the ground, buoyed up by the surrounding groundwater!!!) , so lets forget about 1000s of gallons in the neighbors yard or your tank or whatever.. Also, dont drain the pool immediately after a rain! In Miami, you're going to lose a fair amount of water to evaporation pretty quick, so don't feel compelled to rush out and level out the water....it will be fine until your yard has a chance to recover.
Next, what kind of filter do you have for the pool? A sand or diotomaceous earth filter (DE filter) require periodic backwashing. You're gonna have to pump some water out of the pool at SOME point. (As does every other pool owner in our lovely state). So check the code to see if you HAVE to pump it to the sewer (I'm not in Miami, so I don't know), and then check your chemicals.
as a side note I'm willing to bet that the person that killed the fish had just "shocked" the pool (a process of adding large amounts of chlorine (10x the normal amt) to a pool "burn off" the Chloramides, which are the leftovers of chlorine after it neutralizes the bad stuff in the pool. Note: when a pool smells like chlorine, its not too much chlorine, its too little! That smell is the "used" chlorine!). So be aware of your pool chemical balance.
If all else fails, have the neighborhood kids over for a "cannonball" contest, and you're water will be back down in no time!!!
Good luck!
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Thanks rickandroll,
I was not trying to drain the pool completely. We had a rain storm last week and it increase the pool water by about 4 inches overnight. With the size of my pool bein like 30'x20', to drain off 4 inches we are talking about 1500 gallons.
The reason I have to drain it is (1) I am trying to figure out why my pump is not priming 100% in the skimmer line but will prime 100% in the main drain line. I had an expert here and he said there is no leak in the skimmer line so now I am looking at where there may be air being sucked in (via valves etc...) and I was trying to get the water to the proper skimmer opening level for it to work optimumly. Right now it is totally submerged.
Second, another 6 inches and the pool will overflow. My house is a "wrap-around", meaning the pool is in a central courtyard with paver deck and the rooms are all around it, so once it overflows it goes onto the deck then into the rooms. There are four small grate inlets on the deck that drains outside but the capacity of those inlets were only designed to drain fast enough for pouring rain directly onto the deck, not overflowing pool water. I am worry about the day we get 12" of water in one day, I have to drain the pool down a bit before hand to compensate for these events, and with the septic/drywall/whatever that comes up after 10 seconds of draining, I see a big problem.
MC

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