How to Properly and Safely Dispose of Chlorine

Outside of putting it in their swimming pools, many pool owners are unsure what to do with leftover (or old) chlorine. Others don’t have a pool anymore, but they have chlorine they want to get rid of. How do you safely get the chlorine off your property?

To dispose of fresh, unused chlorine, take the chlorine to your local pool store or even a community pool. If the chlorine is older, you can put it in a disposal container or keep it in the original container and call your nearby hazardous waste management facility for pickup or drop it off.

In this guide, we’ll talk in far more detail about removing your pool chlorine safely as well as the risks that can occur if you don’t. There’s lots of handy information to come, so make sure you keep reading! 

You may also have some leftover muriatic acid, if you’re not sure how to get rid of that, check out our article: 5 ways to Dispose of Muriatic Acid for Pool (Safely)

How to Properly Dispose of New Pool Chlorine

Not all chlorine is the same. You might buy yours in gallon jugs that you pour straight into your pool (or used to before you closed your pool). That’s liquid chlorine.

You could prefer solid chlorine such as tablets or granules. You might even use pool shock, which is actually chlorine.

The good news is that no matter the type of chlorine, you can dispose of it the same way. Here are some options for offloading new, unused chlorine.

1. Give it Away: Ask Neighbors, Friends, Family, & Colleagues

Do you have other family members with a pool in their yard as well? Call them up and ask if they want your chlorine. You can also check in with other neighbors on your street or in your community.

Talk to your friends and work colleagues as well. If you’re not getting any bites, you might check with your social media network to see if anyone wants the chlorine.

You can sell it if you’d like, but if you’re more interested in getting rid of the chlorine fast, you might want to strongly consider giving it away for free. 

2. Give it to a Pool Store

Pool stores sell chlorine to consumers every day of the active pool season. The chlorine you have in your yard or shed right now might have come from your local pool store.

Before you bother lugging a gallon jug of chlorine to the pool store, pick up the phone and call or send them an email. You should only offer to give your chlorine to a pool store if you’ve never used it or even opened it.

Pool stores must be careful about accepting chlorine from you or anyone of the sort. They’re going to turn around and sell the chlorine to their customers, so if it’s not in great quality and a customer buys it and complains, the liability is on the pool store, not you.

If the pool store is interested in taking the chlorine from you, they might offer to pay you, but then again, they just as easily might not.

They might also offer a chlorine disposal program. It pays to ask them.

3. Call Community Pools

If none of the pool stores in your neck of the woods want the chlorine, you can always check in with your area community pools. They should gladly take the chlorine so they can keep their pool swimmable without having to spend money out of their own pocket to do so.

Where to Take Old Pool Chemicals

As we said before, pool stores and community pools will likely take new chlorine, but old stuff? Not so much. You also shouldn’t offer old chlorine to friends, family, and colleagues in good conscience. The stuff won’t be nearly as potent. Liquid chlorine actually has a very short shelf life.

To get rid of old chlorine, you’ll have to call your local hazardous waste management company. Waste management services might offer recycling and trash pickup, so that should give you a company or two to start with.

When you talk to the waste management services, they should be able to tell you whether it’s legal in your state to dispose of hazardous waste as well as how to do it.

For instance, for chlorine tablets, you should put the tablets in a hazardous waste container the waste management services will recommend. A plastic sealed bag is another option. Wear gloves when handling chlorine since it can irritate the skin.

Make sure the chlorine is clearly labeled so anyone else who comes upon the bag or container doesn’t accidentally touch it. Then keep the chlorine in an environment where temperatures are at least 40 degrees and no higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep chlorine away from water too. If it comes in contact with water, it can actually explode.

Wait until the pickup date of the waste disposal services and then give them the chlorine.

What If Chlorine Is Wet – How to Dispose of It?

Your chlorine was in granule or tablet form, and it got wet. You thought you had stored the chlorine somewhere safe, but apparently not. Now what do you do?

Well, at this point, the chlorine has been rendered unusable, so you’ll have no choice but to contact waste management services and request their guidance for disposing of the chlorine.

Can You Put Chlorine Down the Drain or Sewer?

Maybe want to just dump the chlorine down the drain or perhaps the sewer outside of your house?

Before you do something rash, just relax. Chlorine, when stored in proper conditions, can be kept for several years. You might want the chlorine out of your shed like yesterday, but sometimes, that’s not always possible.

Chlorine for your pool should not be poured or disposed of down your drain or in the sewer. Many states have laws prohibiting disposal of hazardous chemicals, like chlorine, down the drain or sewer.

When water enters a sewer after it’s flushed, it goes into one of two places, a wastewater treatment plant or into the ground, where it’s absorbed.

If chlorine is absorbed into your yard, it will likely kill all the greenery there, from plants to flowers and potentially even trees. Any insects or animals that lived near where the spill occurred could be poisoned and even die.

If the chlorinated water ends up in the water treatment plant, the plant might not remove all the chlorine because the managers at the water treatment plant aren’t aware that there was that much chlorine in the water to begin with.

We know what you’re going to say, but doesn’t tap water contain chlorine anyway? Yes, but for one thing, it’s very very weak. And secondly, it’s not the same as what’s in pool chlorine. That chlorine is mostly calcium hypochlorite, which is known as bleach powder.

Can You Put Chlorine in the Trash?

Okay, so you won’t dump chlorine down your sewer or the drain. Is it okay to dispose of chlorine tablets or granules in the trash bin? Again, no.

Chlorine should not be disposed of in the trash. It is a dangerous substance, even if it is used commonly by pool owners around the world.

If you throw the chlorine out into the trash or recycling, a variety of bad things can happen.

The garbage collector, who isn’t wearing the right kind of protective equipment, can experience skin irritation from the chlorine. After all, if you didn’t bother to label the chlorine container or bag, how will they even know what they’re picking up?

In some instances, depending on how long the chlorine has been stored and where, the pool cleaner can begin releasing noxious fumes. These aren’t safe for anyone to breathe in, from you to your garbage collectors.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, the heat and friction of being processed in the garbage compactor can trigger a chemical reaction in the chlorine that could cause it to explode.

That’s why you’re only supposed to store chlorine in environments no warmer than 85 degrees. You should also never combine chlorine with hydrogen, ammonia, and organic compounds, as the violent interaction between the two products can start a fire.

Even if your disposed chlorine made it to the landfill without exploding the garbage compactor, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. When chlorine gets dumped, it will seep into the groundwater and soil at the landfill.

And sure, it only starts at the landfill, but the spread of the chlorine doesn’t stay there. Whatever’s adjacent to the landfill will be affected, which includes plants, trees, animals, insects, and other forms of wildlife. As you know, these creatures and plants can all die.

Please, please don’t put your chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine in the bin. Store the chlorine separately until your hazardous waste management facility can come by to pick up the chlorine.

Can You Flush Chlorine Down the Toilet?

You think you know the answer by now, but you can’t help but wonder. Is it ever a good idea to flush chlorine down the toilet?

It absolutely isn’t. If it’s chlorine granules or tablets we’re talking about here, more than likely, the chlorine won’t even fit down the toilet. If you tried flushing that stuff down, you could back up your toilet or even cause it to overflow.

Liquid chlorine, pool shock, chlorine tablets or granular chlorine should not be disposed of in the toilet. It is a hazardous substance and can have ill effects on the environment.

Besides, the concentration of chlorine in these products is strong enough that upon washing over the components of your toilet, the chlorine can begin wearing them down. You can say goodbye to rubber gaskets and plastic parts.

Even metal isn’t safe from chlorine. The stuff is a corrosive, so metal parts of your toilet would begin rusting or corroding immediately. Your toilet would also stink to high heaven of chlorine since that’s a lot of chlorine you poured into a small amount of water.

By flushing liquid chlorine, the same issues as above would transpire. The heavily chlorinated water would go to a water treatment plant where it might not be treated adequately. The chlorinated water can then possibly enter the water supply, where it would be very dangerous for people of your city or town to consume.

Conclusion 

Pool chlorine might be a common chemical, but it’s a very dangerous one. When you want to dispose of it, you must involve the correct channels, including your waste management facility. Always store chlorine properly, label it, and avoid hot temperatures. Keep pool chlorine out of your garbage bins, sewers, and especially your toilet! 

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