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Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters: Don’t wash them in the street

discharge in street

Since the beginning of summer, we’ve seen more discharges of diatomaceous earth in the street. Commonly known as D.E., diatomaceous earth for pools is derived from tiny fossilized exoskeletons of algae-like water plants called diatoms. DE powder provides better filtration results for pools compared to sand filters and cartridge filter systems, which is why folks use them.

However, did you know that diatomaceous earth cannot be discharged onto the street and into the storm drain system? When diatomaceous earth is washed into the street, not only does it leave a mess in street gutters, the material chokes out aquatic life in creeks downstream when washed into street catch basins. That’s the reason why you should:

  1. Never clean a filter in the street or near a storm drain.
  2. Rinse cartridge filters onto a dirt area and work filter residue into soil.
  3. Backwash diatomaceous earth filters onto dirt. Dispose of spent diatomaceous earth in the garbage. Diatomaceous earth cannot be discharged to surface waters, storm drainage systems, septic systems or on the ground.
  4. If there is not a suitable dirt area, discharge filter material back into the sanitary sewer system using a clean out.

Also, remember your backyard drain inlets typically drain to the street!

More information about storm water program tips and practices is available at https://cityofmissionviejo.org/green.


Submitted by Walt Chandler on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 6:47 pm


I switched to powdered cellulose, and it is lighter, disappears into the soil and is less of an inhalation concern. The water is just as clear as when I usedan the DE product. It works with the same filter grids.

Submitted by Asia Ray on Mon, 03/07/2022 - 5:24 am


Woah, I never knew something like this happened whenever someone cleaned a drain!! I hope my grandmother knows this while she cleans her pool..

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