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'Flush' Water Makes Waves in Area Pools

Posted March 20, 2008
Updated March 21, 2008

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— City officials have devised an innovative plan to keep residents swimming and splashing this summer. The question is whether people will go along with the idea.

Water restrictions in effect in Raleigh prohibit using city water to fill swimming pools, which could mean a long, dry summer for many area residents.

But officials decided to use "flush" water to fill the Chavis, Lake Johnson and Longview public swimming pools. Three 6,000-gallon tankers showed up at the Lake Johnson pool on Thursday to start the process there.

Despite the name, "flushed" water isn't treated wastewater. It's water used to flush mains and hydrants throughout the city, said Ed Buchan, water conservation specialist for Raleigh's Public Utilities Department.

"The example I would use is it's just like kids running around fire hydrants," Buchan said. "Fire hydrants are being flushed, and there are lots and lots of kids running around that. It's the same thing. It's safe, potable drinking water."

Officials began recapturing the water during the drought and usually haul it back to the water treatment plant for use in the municipal water system.

Most city pools don't open until late May, giving managers enough time to test and chlorinate the "flush" water.

"With that additional layer, we have to sanitize it before you're in that water (and have it) inspected," said Scott Payne, operations superintendent for Raleigh Parks & Recreation. "We have to maintain that quality all through the swimming season."

Robert Wall said he was ready to scrap his summer swimming plans until he saw the tankers filling the Lake Johnson Pool.

"It's a good idea if it works. It looks a little dirty right now," said Wall, who noted he usually swims three or mornings a week in the summer. "(I'll go) as long as it's safe to swim in. I'm sure they have standards they have to follow."


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  • bettyboopr2 Mar 21, 2008

    If people are willing to drink recycled waste water or lake water there should be no problem with "flush" water for the pools. I am really glad I have had well water for all my 52 yrs.

  • edwar065 Mar 21, 2008

    That water, once filtered and purified should be just as good to swim in as the water coming from the tap.

  • snizzake Mar 21, 2008

    With the recent news of pharmaceuticals found in public water sources around the country, this "flush" water idea for filling pools is GREAT!!! Several reasons: 1) Do you have a cold, headache, or that stubborn rash?? No problem! Go for a swim! 2) Kids running around crazy with that pesky ADHD? Throw em in the pool! 3) You and your girlfriend can do it all summer without the need for birth control pills! 4) Grandpa could take a little dip in the pool and then please Grandma all night long! 5) Feeling depressed, anxious, trouble sleeping? Take the plunge and feel better in no time!

  • atc2 Mar 21, 2008

    Great CaddyShack II with Baby Ruth bars floating everywhere.

  • TheAdmiral Mar 21, 2008

    Well, it doesn't matter - since these flushed hydrants and whatnot are the source of the lake being sucked dry.

    There is one cheviot - the kids don't have to flush it again if they poo or tinkle in it! It is already flushed!

  • jackadoo Mar 21, 2008

    More sillyness on the part of Raleigh. We used 40 million gals of clean water a DAY. How much water would it take to fill the empty pools, one time? I pay HOA dues for a pool that is empty. We are at over 80% of normal rainfall for the last year. That should be withing the range of what officals plan for...assuming they plan.The PC police have run amuck.

  • peacebee Mar 21, 2008

    Pools were so much more fun before I knew what kids do in them!

  • mramorak Mar 21, 2008

    Oh poo!

  • GWALLY Mar 21, 2008

    The only "enlightening" part of this story is that it is actually news?????? I guess another way to look at this is that when common sense "is actually used" by politicians it makes the news!!! (aka, must not be a common occurrence)!!!

  • PeaceOut2017 Mar 21, 2008

    just flush it back into falls lake and let residents fill the pools with their tap water. Then Raleigh will get more water tax revenue and everyone's happy.