SWG & the environment


New member
Jun 11, 2007
NorthWest Florida
Hi all,

I have been reading alot here and on the pf site about SWG pools and how nice the water feels and how much easier they are to maintain. I have a 27' AGP with an expanable liner (deepend, ~20,000gals). I live in a very rural area and am concerned that if I convert to SW, any backwashing or splashout will kill grass, trees and other vegetation. Thus far, I have not found any discussions on that particular issue regarding SWG pools, but I did find an interesting system for pools which seems to ionize the water/etc. (www.EcoSmarte.com/poolspa.html). But so far I like what I have read about the feel of SW am curious what your experiences have been.

Since I have read alot about metals and other chemicals, I wanted to make sure that I considered all of my options before I made my final choice. Also, given the fact that my pool is an AGP, salt obviously is not a good longterm option, or so that is what it seems from some posts I have read.

Anyway, if anyone could please post your experiences you have had with plants, trees, grass, etc. while you have had your SWG pools.

27x52 Round Opera Prestige (SunSports) AGP - w/hopper deep end (Wilbar insrt.)
1.5 HP Sta-Rite pump w/21" Premium Sand Filter w/Main Drain installed - ~25,000 gal


LifeTime Supporter

First of all, Welcome to TFP. Thanks for joining in our discussions. I am a new pool owner (Sept. 2006). Since the end of May, I have had from 1 person up to approx. 25 people in my pool at one time close to every day. 25 people provide a lot of splashing and washout to the yard. I have no browning whatsoever due to the salt content (AVG. 3400 PPM) in my pool. Furthermore, my pool is set up with an overflow drain which dumps directly into my yard. Now browning in that area as well. I have a pygmy date palm planted within 3 feet of my pool and have had no issues with it either. I am sure other SWCG pool owners will join in this discussion as well. Again, welcome to the site.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
Waaay NW MN
Welcome to the forum. I don't believe that there is any big risk of damage with a SWG in an AG pool. The water is in the liner and when splashed out, a good rinse with the hose every so often will remove the salt. Even so, as Sean and others have noted, any damage if you DON'T clean it off is a long time coming. Its not acid that will immediately burn a hole in metal - levels are not high enough for that.

There are a few of us here (and on PF) that, for the last couple years, had AG pools without the SWG that have salt in them for the "soft" feel and nicer skin, hair, etc. Also seems to retard the growth of bacterias/rot/spoiling of organics that end up in there (read Junebugs just now) We have no damage to our pool or equipment from the salt.

We have never had issues with our plants, trees, grass becoming brown or damaged from the salt. The SWG is next for us (maybe the Chlorease, maybe another)
The level of salt found in a salt water pool should have minimum impact on plants. I would be more concerned about the chlorine in your backwash water then the salt.


New member
Jun 11, 2007
NorthWest Florida
Think I will make the switch!

Thanks for all the replies. Looks like I will be buying some salt this week! I believe I will target 2000ppm as a good starting point.

What is the best salt to use? Lowes is the closest hardware store with Wal-Mart across the road from them.
According to this online calculator Salt Calc, I will need ~400 lbs of salt, which as I understand it is about 10 40# bags of salt.

Also, After reading a long experiment on Boron, I may in time ramp up my Boron to 50ppm, but I will wait and see how my Ph rides through the summer.

The Mermaid Queen

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
Northern KY
Any plain water-softener salt that is 99.5% pure is fine. Many use the solar salt, which is crystal and seems to dissolve faster. You should be able to get it at either store.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
You want solar salt or water softener salt, sodium chloride, without any additives, better than 99% pure. Avoid rust protection or softener care or iron treatment or anything like that. The one you want is typically sold in a blue bag. For example this and this are both good choices. Most any Home Depot or Lowes will have it for perhaps $5 for a 40 lb bag.

Pool store salt is more finely granulated and disolves more quickly, but even the large crystal salt will disolve in under an hour if you brush it around a little or aim a return at it. Plus the finely ground pool salt seems to clump fairly badly some times, defeating the point of being finely ground.


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
SE Louisiana
Here's a thread that addresses this issue.

In case you can't get to poolforum (or if that site goes down), the money post from Mark WATERMAID is:

"I have been dumping my backwash water on my front lawn for 5 years and it is doing better than any of my neighbours. There is a farm in Australia that has been pumping the backwash water out onto a pasture for something like 27 years and it is still green. I dont mean to disagree with the experts but if anyone wants a picture of my front lawn, let me know"

Interestingly, this guy works for Watermaid whose SWGs require something on the order of 6000ppm. If that backwash doesn't hurt the lawn, I'm sure you're safe with the much more typical 3000-3500 ppm.


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
Wyoming, Michigan
Aldi's sells 40lb bags of 99.9% pure water softener salt for $3.39/bag. I used two of these in my 15' easy set and it brought the salt level up to 3400 ppm. Regardless of what is said about not being able to taste the salt until 6000 ppm, I can definitely taste it at this concentration (and so can my kids). I was initially concerned that the large pieces would take a long time to dissolve, but within 12 hours, I couldn't find any pieces left on the bottom of the pool.


Jun 13, 2007
I use KOH salt in my pool and can use the backwash to fertilize my yard. Costs a little more up front that regular sodium based salt, but my pool builder suggested it and used it when they commissioned the pool.