Chautauqua County Hazardous Materials Response Team Issues Cautionary Note to Pool Owners

A recent rupture of pool equipment due to mixing incompatible chlorine products.

Do Not Mix Different Forms of Chlorinating Products

Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services

There is a shortage of some chlorine products this summer. Due to recent incidents in the county, the Chautauqua County Hazardous Materials Response Team is urging caution when using a brand other than what you have typically been using.

There are four types of chlorinating products. They may look similar but they are incompatible with each other. These are Liquid Chlorine (bleach), Dichlor (granular sodium dichlor-5-triazinetrione), Calcium Hypochlorite (granular and tablets) and Trichlor (granular and tablets trichlor)-5-triazinetrione.

Mixing different chlorinating compounds can result in a volatile reaction capable of causing bodily harm and producing toxic vapors.

DO NOT use the wrong Chlorine tablets in your chlorinator! Placing the wrong type of chlorinating tablets or mixing different forms in a tablet feeder will cause a reaction that produces considerable heat and toxic gasses. The rapid formation of gas inside a tablet feeder can cause enough pressure to blow the lid off the feeder or can be violent enough to cause the feeder to explode.
Chautauqua County Deputy Fire Coordinator for EMS Dan Imfeld said, “Exposure to these fumes may cause irritation of upper and lower airways, coughing, shortness of breath and/or chemical burns to the eyes or skin. The effects may develop several hours after an exposure. Anyone experiencing issues should seek medical attention immediately.”

Individuals also should not pour chlorinating compounds into their pool’s skimmer.

Chautauqua County Deputy Fire Coordinator for Hazmat Chris Wichlacz offered these precautions for safely handling chlorine products:

  • Do not get it in eyes, on skin, or on clothing;
  • Avoid breathing vapors or dust when opening the container;
  • Avoid creating dust;
  • Wash thoroughly after handling;
  • Do not add the product to any dispensing device containing residuals of other products;
  • Keep your chemical containers tightly closed, properly labeled and away from food, drink and animal feed; and
  • Keep them separated from incompatible substances and store them in their original container in a cool, dry place.

If you are uncertain of what type of chlorine you are using please read the label and consult your pool supplies vendor.