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Filling in a swimming pool

QuestionWhat recommendations do you have on how to fill in a 64,000-gallon swimming pool that is no longer wanted? We have a 6-foot access through the portico to the rear of the house where the pool is located. Because we border a ravine, we're wondering if it would be better to leave the concrete pool in place for stability, just break down the top edge of pool a foot or more, and then fill in. Would we need to break out the bottom for drainage? Should we place gravel at the bottom for drainage? Then what? What kind of contractor would be best for this project? —Thanks.

AnswerInteresting project! I would recommend an excavating contractor. He or she will have the specialized equipment needed—concrete drop hammer, long-reach chisel scaler (to remove tile), 90- or 185-cfm compressor, 3-ton excavator, breaker attachment, skidsteer loader (Bobcat), and dump truck, as well as access to equipment that will make it through the 6-foot access space you mentioned. Of course, the height of the portico may also restrict access. Start by contacting contractors to see if they can get equipment through this area. You should be able to tell them over the phone the width and heights to determine if they have the proper size of equipment to handle the demolition and still be able to get through this area.

I don't have the luxury of seeing the jobsite, so it's hard for me to recommend whether or not to keep the pool intact because of the ravine. However, I can say with some certainty that the ravine was there when the hole was dug for the pool and it was still there when the pool was built, so I don't see this is as something to be alarmed about.

Ideally, it would be best to break the pool up and remove all the concrete involved. But to keep the cost down—break the bottom up completely so water can drain and use the broken up sides to fill in the hole. I would fill the hole up to 2 to 3 feet from the top of the topsoil. Then haul off any excess concrete, at this point I would put in a layer of filter fabric to keep the fill dirt and fines from washing down into any voids around the broken concrete, fill in the remainder with fill dirt, and top it all off with about 8 inches of topsoil. Compact the soil with a power tamper to eliminate any possible future settling.

Now that I have made these recommendations—I also suggest that you contact your local building department to find out if a permit is required and if they have any special requirements that deal with filling in the pool's hole with concrete. Also, you will want to protect your existing lawn in the area where the equipment will be running back and forth. Purchase 3/4-inch CDX plywood and cover this area to protect the lawn from tire tracks or from being torn up—the investment is worth it!

I would like to hear what direction you took, the requirements from the city or county building department, contractors involved, and the overall cost. Good luck with this major undertaking!

Copyright © 2002 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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C.R.S., Inc. · Spokane, Washington · USA

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