Broken Glass In The Swimming Pool: What Should You Do?

Broken Glass in a swimming pool, What Do I Do!?

The issue of broken glass in a swimming pool is every commercial pool operator’s nightmare. Cuts related to broken glass in the pool or the pool area can spell major hassles for a property. The problem is particularly scary when the glass is broken inside the pool itself, as it is nearly impossible to visually see the glass in the water. More so if the shards have turned into slivers. So, what exactly is the best route to take when cleaning glass out of your pool?

There are dozens of chat threads, web pages, and Reddit pages devoted to this conversation, but none of them addresses how a commercial pool operator should react to this situation. In this article, we are going to explore what you should do when someone breaks a glass in your swimming pool.

From where did the Broken Glass in my Pool Come?

The glass that has broken in your pool can come from various sources:

  • Beer and soda bottles
  • Food Containers
  • Glass Table Tops
  • Glassware
  • Overhead Lighting
  • Internal Swimming Pool Light(s)

Some sources of glass in the pool area are unavoidable, such as overhead lighting or your pool lights. These glass sources are generally designed for aquatic use in mind. Please note, this isn’t always the case. All glass structures may break and pose a threat to your pool area.

Beer bottles, glassware, and glass tabletops should not be allowed in any pool areas simply because of the high probability that they will break causing major issues for you as an operator.

Should I vacuum the Broken Glass from the Pool?

Many suggest that you just vacuum the pool a few times and you are good to open the pool again. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Vacuuming glass out of your pool is a very bad idea no matter what other sources tell you. Why?

  1. You never know if you have truly removed all the glass from the pool
  2. Even if you are proactive and use vacuuming sock devices to prevent the glass from entering into your filter, shards can still make it into your filter, risking injury during filter cleaning
  3. If glass shards enter into a cartridge filter, the glass will tear the cartridges to shreds, requiring you to replace the cartridges
  4. The glass can find its way throughout your entire circulation system and become trapped. Once that glass is eventually freed it can easily find its way back into your pool.

So now that we have established that vacuuming your pool is a very unsafe practice for both you and your guests, let’s explore what you actually need to do to prevent broken glass-related injuries and complications.

Avoid Broken Glass in your pool by using only safe drinking vessels poolside
Use only safe drinking vessels poolside

Step 1: Stop the Circulation

Once you know that glass has broken inside of your pool or hot tub, make sure that you immediately turn off all of your pumps. You must avoid any glass reaching the circulation system.


Step 2: Drain Your Pool

Yes, this sounds like a crazy huge hassle, and to be honest, it is. However, according to the commercial pool and spa industry standards, draining your pool is a must. Be sure to use a sump pump to drain your pool instead of the main drain so you can ensure that none of the glass is getting into the circulation system.


Step 3: Let The Pool Dry Out Completely

This is the longest step in the process depending on where you are located. Dry climates don’t have to wait too long for that surface to dry out completely, whereas more humid climates may need to wait longer for the surface to dry long enough to perform the next step. Fans may aid in drying if you need to accelerate the process. Please also note that if you do not let the pool surface dry completely, the next steps will be much more difficult and may prove unsuccessful.


Step 4: Sweep The Entire Pool

Again, this is tedious and a little stressful but it is absolutely crucial in making sure you are getting as much of the big debris out of the pool as possible. Sweep the broken glass into a dustpan or grab a shop vac and vacuum the glass pile up. To be totally honest, it is considered a best practice to repeat this step a few times to ensure you have all the big pieces taken care of.


Step 5: With A Shop Vac, Vacuum The Entire Pool

This step is crucial in ensuring that you are able to remove and slivers, chunks, specks, or chips of glass from the pool’s surface. Again, it is highly recommended that you repeat this step a few times to ensure you have gotten all of the glass remnants. Please also note that you will need to be mindful of where you have vacuumed and where you have not yet vacuumed as it can be very difficult, nigh impossible, to see where you’ve vacuumed previously.


Step 6: Refill, Balance The Water, and Re-open The Pool

Now that you have done everything within your power to get the broken glass out of the pool, you are free to open the pool again.

Please keep in mind that this is the best practice for removing the glass from the pool itself. If you feel glass may have entered into your circulation equipment, then you will need to take action to prevent any potential injuries. In this case, please contact The Pool People to give you further advice on the cleaning of the glass from the system.

How Do I Learn More?

As a commercial or semi-commercial operator, there is so much you need to know about keeping your pools and spas safe and healthy.

The best way for you to become a more knowledgeable pool professional is to sign up for a Certified Pool Operator Course through The Pool School. Click here to find out more.

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