Houston Health Department
Swimming Pool and Spa Use
Can I drink the water from my swimming pool?
If the pool has been contaminated by flood waters, it should not be used for swimming or drinking. It is NOT recommended that water from swimming pools be used for drinking. However, if the pool water must be used as an emergency drinking water supply, follow appropriate water treatment procedures:
- Boiling water, when practical, is the preferred way to kill harmful viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Bringing water to a rolling boil for 1 minute will kill most organisms. However, boiling will not remove chemical contaminants. If you suspect or are informed that the water is contaminated with chemicals, seek another source of water, such as bottled water that has not been exposed to flood water.
- Chlorinate swimming pool water up to 20 ppm free chlorine, then dechlorinate (e.g., by using thiosulfate) to less than 5 ppm for consumption. These guidelines are only for swimming pool water, NOT for water that will be used for drinking, washing, and food preparation. Other water disinfection guidelines can be found at
Can I swim in my pool?
Safe operation of swimming pools and spas requires electricity to run filters and ensure good disinfection of the water. Without effective filtration and disinfection, swimming pools and spas could become contaminated and spread germs to other swimmers. If you operate a public or private pool and do not have adequate power, close the pool for the duration of the power outage and until you can operate at peak efficiency again. When you reopen the pool, follow standard reopening protocols. For more information visit the Healthy Swimming website (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/index.htm)
and read about how to protect yourself at pools and spas (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/fact_sheets.htm#a)