Assuming a major blackout and collapse of infrastructure, swimming pool water should be (fairly) potable. Given that volume-wise even a small pool could supply a family for years, are there any estimations on how long it takes until the pool becomes non-potable?

(During high summer, some pools can overturn within days. But how about winter time below 10°C / 50°F?)

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    Just as long it takes for the pool maintenance chemistry to go out of wack. Will the pool be maintained?
    – Dave X
    Sep 24, 2022 at 17:39
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    Don't overlook evaporation when you calculate how long the water will last. This wepage discusses evaporation from ponds. The depth loss is irrespective of size, and for a 'standard pan' shows it might be about 8 cm/month in summer and 6 cm in spring (with a correction factor). You'll also lose chlorine by evaporation and being broken down by sunlight. Sep 24, 2022 at 17:45
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    If you have the possibility to cook the water, I'm assuming it would last almost forever.
    – PMF
    Sep 25, 2022 at 6:26
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    It will depend on what the treatment is to begin with, as well as your weather. In plenty of places winter would mean freezing enough to crack the walls, then it would soak into the ground when it thawed
    – Chris H
    Sep 25, 2022 at 13:04
  • Do you mean, how long to you have to cook the pool water so that will be potable? It's more likely to be answered on chemistry, but you need to be specific which chemicals are used to contaminate the water Oct 5, 2022 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


The articles I've read online recommend against drinking pool water for the chemicals used to treat it and the debris and living organisms it contains. I assume it's the living organisms that you're concerned about given that you mention "becom[ing] non-potable". Filters can remove many chemicals (https://theberkey.com/pages/test-result), though, to be extremely cautious in my advice, some of the chemicals in pool water are not among those listed at the Berkey page, probably because people aren't typically filtering pool water. If you encountered a pool that collected rainwater, the P&G Purifier of Water removes more than 99% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. (https://www.hwts.info/products-technologies/e0baff7f/pandg-purifier-of-water/technical-information)

  • This doesn't answer the question of how long the water takes to degrade. Or are you saying it is immediately non-potable?
    – Chenmunka
    Apr 20, 2023 at 14:49

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