How to Dispose of Sand from Pool Filter: 4 Effective Ways

Do you have a swimming pool at your home? If so, you know that keeping it clean requires a lot of work. One of the tasks that you will need to do regularly is changing the sand in the pool filter.

This can be a messy job, but it is important to do if you want to keep your pool looking and functioning at its best. This blog post will teach you how to dispose of sand from pool filters properly.

How to Dispose of Sand from Pool Filter

Some pool owners indefinitely leave the sand in their filtering system and rely on backwashing to keep it clean, but they are the exception.

To obtain the maximum performance from your filter, manufacturers and pool maintenance professionals recommend changing it every five years. Some filters can contain as much as 300 pounds of sand, which is excessive to carry away off-site.

Because the filter needs to be changed so seldom, it’s simple to find uses for the old sand around the home. Please don’t put it in sandboxes or other play areas where children or pets can indulge.

How is Pool Filter Sand Different from Normal Sand?

Pool filter sand differs from ordinary sand in several respects. Pool sand is also a finer product. Pool filter sand is generally made of silica quartz, classified as a carcinogen because it can induce severe respiratory problems if inhaled. Fine silica quartz inhalation can lead to silicosis, an illness that can be fatal if left untreated.

However, standard sandbox sand comprises a variety of minerals and is not harmful in any way. Children and animals should not be allowed to play with pool silica sand or place it in areas where they can reach it. As a result, old pool filter sand must be disposed of properly.

Why You Should Not Reuse Pool Filter Sand?

If you have ever had to change the sand in your pool filter, you know how dirty and grimy it can be. This is because the sand filters out all the dirt and debris from the water as it circulates through the system. Over time, the sand becomes clogged with these contaminants and can no longer do its job effectively.

Additionally, when you remove old pool filter sand, it is important to dispose of it properly. You should not simply reuse it or put it back in the pool. Doing so could introduce harmful bacteria and other contaminants into the water.

When Should You Change Pool Filter Sand?

As we mentioned above, you should typically change the sand in your pool filter every five years. However, there are a few circumstances where you may need to do it more frequently. If you notice that your filter is not working as well as it used to, it is probably time for a change.

You may also need to replace the sand more often if you have a lot of trees or other debris around your pool that can clog up the system.

If you are not sure how often to change the sand in your pool filter, you should consult with a professional. They will be able to give you specific advice based on the type of pool and filtration system you have.

Pool Sand Is Not Play Sand

The disadvantage of employing pool sand in playgrounds is the potential for contaminants to accumulate on the sand. They’re the same elements you come into contact with when you get into the water, but pool sand has a higher concentration. They might be harmful to one’s health.

Another issue is the sand’s composition. Unlike beach and play sands, Pool sand largely comprises crushed silica quartz rather than a variety of minerals. The dust from this sort of sand is a Class 1A carcinogen that can lead to silicosis if inhaled over time.

It isn’t safe for humans or animals, and it’s not an excellent filler for cat litter boxes in terms of safety or purity.

What Is Backwashing a Pool Filter?

Whether you’ve heard the phrase “c” or “backwash a pool,” both mean reversing the circulation of water in your filter to remove impurities. Pool water goes through your D.E. filter or sand filter, leaving behind dirt, oils, and other particles caught in the media—either D.E. powder or sand—when it passes through it.

As time progresses, the filter medium will get clogged as water only moves in one direction, reducing your filter’s effectiveness. You backwash a pool by sending water backward through the filter and out the waste or drain port.

All debris trapped in the filter is forced to dislodge during this process, so you can remove it and return your filtration system to normal function.

How to Dispose of Sand from Pool Filter?

This is not a uniform process, and it’s specific to each filter. There isn’t much of a difference here, but you want to be sure to follow your filter’s instructions instead of relying on general advice to change everything correctly.

Fortunately, this may be as easy as consulting your owner’s handbook and doing a basic check-in. If you’re concerned, you may always contact your pool service for assistance or even have them come out and take care of it!

After you’ve gotten all of the sand from your pool filter, you’ll have to find a place for it. It’s packed with filth, so there’s no way you could use it as a sandbox or let it pile up in a mound in the yard. There are a few different techniques to get rid of this stuff without calling in the heavy artillery!

1. Use Pool Sand for Landscaping

Pool sand granules are usually less than a millimeter in diameter and maybe even smaller. This fine combination is fantastic as an underlayment for paving stones and a filler between the rocks. It can also fill holes in the lawn or garden, spread on the surface of existing dirt pathways, or apply to existing dirt paths to fill cracks. None of these uses exposes you to silica dust or pool hazards.

2. Save Pool Sand for the Winter

The average pool filter includes the same amount of sand as approximately seven bags, which is enough to keep your walkways and stairs slip-free for one or two seasons. The sand should be stored in covered 5-gallon buckets. Each bucket holds about the same amount as one bag.

3. Bury It

Because of the pollutants, it contains, Pool sand should never be left in a pile in the yard. If you can’t think of any other use for it around the house and don’t want to transport it to a landfill, dig a hole in your yard or garden and bury it.

If you opt for this option, put it as far away from drainage pipes as possible since flowing water will carry it into the ground, leaving a space that you’ll need to refill with dirt.

4. Hire a Disposal Expert

Pool filter sand is classified as a hazardous substance, so you should not dispose of it in your ordinary trash can. To properly get rid of the sand, contact a specialist or take it to a disposal facility.

Signs That Indicate You Need to Dispose of Your Pool Filter Sand

As time passes, pool filter sand accumulates debris and dirt, which affects its filtration ability. Even after treatment, a clogged filter won’t work efficiently, leading to cloudy or discolored water. High readings on the filter pressure gauge are an indication of clogged filters.

The sand will also feel slimy or gritty, indicating it’s time for a replacement. Pool filter sand typically lasts for around five years, so if it’s older than that, it’s time for a replacement. Unusual smells or discoloration in the sand may also indicate that it’s time to dispose of it.

Preparing Your Sand Filter for Disposal

Preparing the filter correctly before disposing of pool filter sand is essential. The first step is to turn off the pool pump and disconnect the filter from the electrical supply. Next, release the pressure from the filter by opening the air release valve.

Remove the filter lid and scoop the old sand into a container or plastic bag. Inspect the filter laterals for damage or cracks and replace them if necessary.

After that, clean the filter with a mild detergent and rinse it with clean water. Finally, allow the filter to dry completely before adding new sand.

Safety Precautions to Take When Disposing of Pool Filter Sand

It’s crucial to take safety precautions when disposing of pool filter sand to prevent potential hazards. Wearing protective gear like gloves, goggles, and a mask can prevent inhalation of dust or contact with harmful chemicals.

Don’t mix pool filter sand with other materials or chemicals. Transport the sand in sealed bags or containers to prevent spills. Follow the disposal guidelines provided by your local authorities, and if you’re unsure about the safety of disposing of the sand, contact a disposal expert.

Recycling Options for Used Pool Filter Sand

Recycling options for used pool filter sand can help you dispose of the sand more sustainably. You can use the sand for gardening or landscaping purposes, mix it with cement to create a building material, or use it as a component in manufacturing materials like asphalt and concrete. Check with your local recycling facility if they accept used pool filter sand.

How to Store Pool Filter Sand Before Disposal

If you’re not ready to dispose of your pool filter sand immediately, it’s crucial to store it correctly. Place the sand in a sealed plastic bag or container to prevent contamination. Store the sand in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Label the container with the replacement date to ensure you don’t use the sand past its expiry date. Keep the sand away from children and pets.

Environmental Impact of Improper Pool Filter Sand Disposal

Improper disposal of pool filter sand can have severe environmental consequences. Contamination of water sources and soil with harmful chemicals, damage to aquatic life and plants due to chemical exposure, soil erosion and degradation due to the loss of soil nutrients, and pollution of air quality due to dust and other airborne particles are all possible environmental impacts of improper pool filter sand disposal.

The Cost of Pool Filter Sand Disposal and How to Save Money

The cost of disposing of pool filter sand varies depending on your location and the disposal method used. Check with your local authorities for free or subsidized disposal programs.

Look for recycling options that offer cost-effective solutions, or consider hiring a disposal expert who can provide affordable and safe disposal services. Plan and consider purchasing sand in bulk to save on disposal costs.

Bottom Line

The sand in your pool’s filtration system is not the same as the sand you played with at the beach or in a sandbox. It is considerably finer, which makes it hazardous to breathe if ingested. It’s critical to understand how to properly dispose of it to protect yourself and those in your home.

After you’ve disposed of it and replaced it with new sand, you and your family can once again enjoy clean and safe water.


How much does it cost to replace pool filter sand?

The cost of replacing pool filter sand varies depending on the type and size of your pool. Generally, it costs between $100 and $200 to replace the sand in a typical 20,000-gallon inground pool. For above-ground pools, the cost is usually between $50 and $100.

Can I use beach sand in my pool filter?

No, it would help if you did not use beach sand in your pool filter. Beach sand is coarser than pool filter sand and contains salt, damaging your filtration system. In addition, beach sand can introduce bacteria and other contaminants into your pool.

What is the best way to dispose of pool filter sand?

The best way to dispose of pool filter sand is to use it for landscaping, save it for the winter, bury it, or hire a disposal expert. Pool filter sand should never be disposed of in your ordinary trash can because it is classified as a hazardous substance.

What is the waste option on a sand filter?

An alternative filter bypass setting is available where the water is directed to the waste pipe or hose instead of being returned to the pool.

This setting is particularly useful for lowering the pool water level or vacuuming waste. It’s especially effective for cleaning up heavy amounts of algae or debris that contain a lot of dust or silt.

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