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Thread: Dumping used DE?

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    Dumping used DE?

    I am new to this pool thing and it occurred to me that when I backwash the filter and blow out the DE/dirt that's in the filter, it's going to just discharge on to the ground. The pool is surrounded by some rocks, so it will go there. Or I could attach a hose a drain it to the lawn I guess if that's better.

    How are you supposed to deal with used DE? Is there any issue just draining it on the rocks or lawn? Is there something safer/better to do?
    24" (13,600 gal) AG, Hayward EC40 DE filter, Hayward pump, Taylor K-2006, well water

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Hook up a hose and drain to the lawn. It's natural and won't really hurt anything. In fact it's used as a non-poisonous bug killer in some instances. But it won't hurt the lawn at all.
    24' Round Doughboy AG.
    Usually filled with 3 kids, the wife, and occasionally the dog.

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Quote Originally Posted by wmshay6 View Post
    Hook up a hose and drain to the lawn. It's natural and won't really hurt anything. In fact it's used as a non-poisonous bug killer in some instances. But it won't hurt the lawn at all.
    I'm asking the same question as the OP. There are two different processes for DE. The one for pool filtering media is "roasted" or heat treated and is labeled as a "mild carcinogen". Given that label, I'm hesitant to just throw it out on the ground without some back-up information.
    18,000 gal, IG kidney w/ spa, Pebbletech, 60 DE filter, 2 skimmers, auto chlorinator, 2.0 hp pump, Dolphin M400

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    It is a hazard if inhaled. Use care when handling the dry powder. If you discharge into your lawn, let it dry, then mow the lawn, creating a cloud, that could be a problem. Generally though it disapates and mixes into the soil.
    chiefwej
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    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Quote Originally Posted by wmshay6 View Post
    Hook up a hose and drain to the lawn. It's natural and won't really hurt anything. In fact it's used as a non-poisonous bug killer in some instances. But it won't hurt the lawn at all.
    FYI, pool DE is not the same as the bug killer DE
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    A few things to consider...

    1) You aren't just discharging DE. You're also discharging all the dust and everything else you filtered out for the past few months. That stuff tends to be very fertile.... think of the Nile Delta. If it goes down into your rocks, you will sprout weeds in that area. Ask me how I know.
    2) Cellulose is a biodegradable substitute for DE. It looks and hefts pretty much just like blown-in attic insulation. It, too, acts as fertile ground for any weed seeds you may have skimmed and filtered off your pool surface. It also has no grace period. When the pressure rises 25%, it wants to be backwashed now. Not next week when it's more convenient. It starts to turn black and gooey and doesn't rinse off well at all. But it does break down, whereas DE has been around for several million years and will stay in your lawn for several million more.

    So pluses and minuses for each. I'll stick with the cellulose just because if any does make it to the storm drain and someone has a cow, I can plead that it's just sawdust and not a carcinogen.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Dumping used DE?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    FYI, pool DE is not the same as the bug killer DE
    It's all Dead Sea creatures- diatoms. Just processed finer for filtering purposes. And as a previous poster said only "mildly carcinogenic" if you inhale the dried powder. Once it's been used in the filter and discharged, I would argue it really is no hazard.

    You could make the same "mildly carcinogenic" argument about the silica in the sand used in sand filters- that's why sandblasters wear so much respirator related PPE.


    24' Round Doughboy AG.
    Usually filled with 3 kids, the wife, and occasionally the dog.

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Let's just assume there is some toxicity with DE, I'm looking for disposal techniques that people use. I suppose I could dig a hole and let it flow in, then shovel into a garbage bag for disposal, but "there has to be a better way"!
    18,000 gal, IG kidney w/ spa, Pebbletech, 60 DE filter, 2 skimmers, auto chlorinator, 2.0 hp pump, Dolphin M400

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    But there is no toxicity at least not in the way people usually think of toxicity, instead it is more of an irritant, microscopic particles with sharp edges that cause damage. Ones it comes out of the filter it also tends to be clumped into a cement like structure. If you are that concerned about it they do make DE separation chambers, and the Slime bag people make a DE recovery bag, but that is more about saving water.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Quote Originally Posted by simplemind View Post
    Let's just assume there is some toxicity with DE, I'm looking for disposal techniques that people use. I suppose I could dig a hole and let it flow in, then shovel into a garbage bag for disposal, but "there has to be a better way"!
    It's really not an issue. Last weekend I intentionally spread DE over my herb garden to combat whatever evil forces were attacking my basil. I shook it out of a bag to get an even dusting while breathing through my t-shirt. When the sprinklers went on later in the morning the DE sank down into the mulch layer. Truly not a problem.
    Geebot
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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    I used to dump it to the lawn. Then I noticed when I mow I would get a cloud of DE. What I did was buy a few yards of sheer fabric and my wife made what looks like a big pillow case. I use that to capture the DE and it can be discarded. I tried a regular pillow case first but could not get a fast enough flow.
    17500 gallon Doughboy AGP, Hayward DE filter, waiting for the 1.5hp DB pump to go out.
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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Or just get a sand filter.
    24' Round Doughboy AG.
    Usually filled with 3 kids, the wife, and occasionally the dog.

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcowart View Post
    I used to dump it to the lawn. Then I noticed when I mow I would get a cloud of DE. What I did was buy a few yards of sheer fabric and my wife made what looks like a big pillow case. I use that to capture the DE and it can be discarded. I tried a regular pillow case first but could not get a fast enough flow.
    YES!

    Quote Originally Posted by wmshay6 View Post
    Or just get a sand filter.
    NO!

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    But there is no toxicity at least not in the way people usually think of toxicity, instead it is more of an irritant, microscopic particles with sharp edges that cause damage. Ones it comes out of the filter it also tends to be clumped into a cement like structure. If you are that concerned about it they do make DE separation chambers, and the Slime bag people make a DE recovery bag, but that is more about saving water.
    MAYBE!

    Maybe there is a use for discarded pantyhose after all! I guess if the "sludge" is viscous enough with trapped dirt, algae, etc., then it may not pass through a fine mesh panty hose aka "recovery bag".
    18,000 gal, IG kidney w/ spa, Pebbletech, 60 DE filter, 2 skimmers, auto chlorinator, 2.0 hp pump, Dolphin M400

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    Update: I attached pantyhose to discharge hose and it trapped a lot of the waste, but I didn't have it securely fastened so it blew off about 1/2 way through. I think that is a legitimate way to trap "most" of the trash, but have to find a better way to attach.
    18,000 gal, IG kidney w/ spa, Pebbletech, 60 DE filter, 2 skimmers, auto chlorinator, 2.0 hp pump, Dolphin M400

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    It might work better with a VS pump set at a modest speed. BTW, I have a separation tank and they don't work that well.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Dumping used DE?

    But if the speed is too low, you will not get a good backwash.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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