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Missoula Valley Water Quality District
(406) 258-4890
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Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Department: Water Quality District
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Water Quality District - Hazardous Waste

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Pool Chemicals

What are they?

Many pool chemicals are used to sanitize, clean, or balance the water in swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. These chemicals may contain the following: liquid chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, muriatic acid, sodium bisulphate, sodium carbonate or detergents. The pH of a pool is controlled by adding either acid or alkali products. An acid, either muriatic acid (also known as hydrochloric acid) or sodium bisulphate, is added to lower the pH. To raise the pH, an base, sodium carbonate (also known as soda ash) is added. Additionally, pools use sanitizing chemicals to remove algae, harmful bacteria, dirt, germs, and organic matter carried into the pool on people’s bodies and by the wind. These chemicals oxidize organic matter. Most typically, a chlorine product is used to sanitize the pool. Either a liquid chlorine (typically sodium hypochlorite) or dry chlorine (usually calcium hypochlorite) is used.

What Makes it Hazardous?

Pool and spa chemicals may be corrosive, meaning they may cause skin and eye damage. Many pool chemicals, including different types of chlorine, can react violently when mixed, producing toxic gases, fire, and/or an explosion.

Safety Tips

Disposal Options


The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.

Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.

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