Monday, May 22, 2006
draining the pool
The aboveground pool in our backyard is unusable. It has been left to its own devices for several years with no maintenance, and it's filthy, structurally unsound, and completely unsafe in any number of ways. So we knew we'd have to take it out. This isn't a simple task. Our first step was to take down the rails around the pool's 'deck'. The ease with which this was accomplished made it even clearer how unsafe this thing was! Next step, of course, is to drain the pool. This is what has occupied us for the last couple of weeks.
First of all, you're never supposed to have to drain a pool. This is particularly true for inground pools, but it's also true for aboveground pools. With good maintenance, pools have extraordinarily long lifetimes -- and when the time comes to get rid of it, chances are you'll be replacing it, which means you just hire the pool guys to do it all. Our situation is fairly unique; we don't actually want this pool. Yes, we want a pool, but a) it will be an inground pool, b) it will be in a completely different area of the yard, and c) it's a long way off, anyway -- no way we've got the budget for a pool anytime soon. So we have the unusual goal of just getting rid of the damn pool. Which, of course, we're going to do ourselves. Okay, by 'ourselves' I really mean 'by coopting several burly fraternity brothers and giving them free beer in exchange for labor', but it's the same thing when you get down to it.
So. Draining the pool. Legally speaking, pool draining isn't cool. You can't drain it into the street, and you can't drain it into your pipes. Both of these will overload the city's water treatment facilities. Oh, maybe not if just little old you did it -- but let one person do it and somehow everyone will. Maybe they won't drain their whole pool, but they'll certainly drain the water off of the top of their pool cover. Which can add up (unless you have those cool pool covers that an elephant can stand on top of, we're totally getting one of those someday). So the only thing you're actually allowed to do is drain it into your own backyard -- and, legally, you're only allowed to do that if you own a large enough property to actually absorb all of that water. Which, of course, nobody really does. So what you do is a) make sure nobody's watching and b) don't do it all at once. Which is what has occupied Don for the last two weeks.
We started out with Don's dad's old submersible pump -- used for draining the pool cover at Chez Brinkley since time immemorial -- but it broke. So we bought a new one (and yes, when we're done Don's dad is borrowing it -- when you live ten blocks away from your parents tools become shared property, Don says). Don hooked the pump up to the hose and chained it to the side of the pool so that it wouldn't sink to the bottom and get mired in sludge (you can kind of see the setup in the picture above). Next he took the other end of the hose to the very back of our property and set it at the most uphill point he could find. Then he plugged the pump in and let it go to work. We have a lot of property, so he was able to let it run for quite a while before the back of our yard started getting swamplike. Then he turned it off and let the yard dry out for a day or two, then repeated the process. We were careful to never let the yard get more than a little muddy; the neighbors on our downhill side have a toddler, and we didn't want our filthy ten-year-old moldy water to come anywhere near their yard where she might get in it. It's taken about a week and a half -- with one rainstorm to take progress backwards -- but the pool is pretty much empty. We're having some issues getting the very last inch or so of water out of the bottom of the pool; the pump doesn't want to work on it, so I came home yesterday to find Don bailing the old-fashioned way, with a bucket and some rope. Gross.
The next step is renting a dumpster and calling all of our friends for a demolition party. I'll let you know how it goes.