How to Stop Groundwater Seepage Into Your Pool

Written by Michael Dean
April 12, 2024

popped swimming pool

The upper layer of groundwater is also called the water table. The level of water present in this layer can vary according to season, although it’s usually at its highest towards the end of winter or early spring. If you have a swimming pool, it’s incredibly important to account for possible seepage issues arising from groundwater pressure—this can seriously damage your infrastructure if not managed properly.

In this article, I will cover signs of possible groundwater issues, how to stop seepage from occurring, and if it’s possible to fix the issue yourself. 

Main Takeaways

  • You may have a groundwater problem if you have a spike in water pressure, fluctuations in well water yield, changes in pool water quality, or cracks in foundation walls.
  • You can help prevent groundwater seepage by installing a perimeter drain or a well pit and ensuring proper water level, rerouting the downspout, and sealing any leaks.
  • I highly recommend hiring a professional to take care of any groundwater seepage issues.
  • A high water table can lead to severe structural issues such as cracks, pool popping, and the liner detaching.

How Do I Know If I Have a Groundwater Problem?

A groundwater problem that affects your pool can occur when the shell and lining of your pool have been breached. This allows water, minerals, and bacteria from the ground to seep into your pool, leading to a whole host of other issues.

Here’s how you can tell if you do indeed have a groundwater problem.

Spike in Water Pressure

When weather conditions are especially soggy due to heavy snowfall or a rainstorm, the groundwater level can spike suddenly, leading to high water pressure in your pipes, garden hoses, or taps. Your yard may be waterlogged for days after the snowmelt or rain. While this in itself is not a problem, it is a sign that the water level in your ground might be too high, and if you have a pool, you might want to watch for cracks.

Fluctuations in Well Water Yield

If you happen to have a well on your property and groundwater rises or falls, you might notice the water levels have risen or fallen to reflect these changes. Your well is a good way to gauge a rough idea of groundwater levels—you could use a well sounder, weighted tape, or electronic water level indicators to keep track of the water level in your well.

Changes in Pool Water Quality

Changes in your pool’s water quality are almost always an indicator of something being awry—these can be signs of various contaminants creeping into your pool due to seepage. Your pool might look green due to high copper levels or cloudy due to high levels of mineral particles or bacteria entering the water. If you’re noticing an unusual sediment level in your pool, such as iron, manganese, dirt, or sand, it could also be due to groundwater seepage.

Cracks in Foundation Walls

One of the most alarming signs that you may have a groundwater problem is cracks in the foundation walls of your poo. If you can see a serious sign that something is wrong. A rise in groundwater levels in the soil can exert tremendous pressure on the concrete or fiberglass of your pool, causing cracks in the foundations of the structure. This almost always warrants immediate investigation by a professional. If left unaddressed, the concrete or fiberglass can get severely fractured and even collapse or pop out of the ground!

Of course, water table levels fluctuate throughout the year, which is natural, so minor changes in pressure are not cause for alarm. Still, it’s best to be observant and cautious. Have you noticed any of the above issues? If yes, act ASAP. Early detection and resolution of groundwater problems will save you a lot of money in the long run since it means preventing a whole host of other problems like algae infestation, pool chemistry imbalance, and damage to pool infrastructure.

How to Stop Groundwater Seepage Into Your Pool

As you can see, groundwater seepage into a pool is a severe problem you really don’t want to deal with. But, of course, the best medicine for this problem is to prevent it in the first place. So, here are a few steps you can take to stop and prevent groundwater seepage into your pool.

Install Perimeter Drain

A perimeter drain is a trench with a perforated pipe that goes around the base of your pool. Its purpose is to redirect water away from the pool structure to a safe outlet, such as a well pit or a drain point. This is usually added during pool construction.

Well Pit or Sump Pit

A sump pit or well pit is a corrugated pipe with a pump that runs from the top of the deck to an inch below the deepest depth of the pool. It collects groundwater that seeps underneath the pool, allowing you to keep visual track of the amount of groundwater present and, when necessary, pump it till it is redirected away from the pool.

Proper Water Level

Your pool is most vulnerable to groundwater damage and seepage when the pool is empty or the water level is too low. Maintain the recommended water level in the pool and never leave it empty for more than a day if possible. This creates opposing pressure on the groundwater outside the structure, preventing the foundations from cracking and the water seeping in.

Downspout Rerouting

A downspout or drainpipe is a pipe for carrying rainwater from a rain gutter to allow water to reach the ground without dripping down the building. Make sure the downspouts around your house, pool, and surrounding infrastructure are positioned to drain away from the pool area to prevent additional water from gathering around it.

Leak Sealing

If cracks or gaps have developed in the pool structure, immediately repair them. To do so, seal these cracks with appropriate repair materials. Keep in mind that sealing leaks and cracks in a pool is a complicated, technical task, so you may need to hire a professional.

If you suspect you have a groundwater issue, I highly recommend consulting an expert to diagnose the root of the problem and determine the best course of action. If you’re currently building or renovating the pool, a perimeter drain or a sump pit will drastically reduce the risk of groundwater issues. I would recommend discussing the possibility of including them in the pool project with your builder.

Can You Fix Groundwater Seepage by Yourself?

Fixing groundwater seepage yourself is a tricky business, and it depends on the severity of the issue. It’s possible to tackle minor seepage issues (or rather prevention techniques) yourself, i.e., rerouting downspouts or increasing the level of water in your pool. But in my experience, most groundwater seepage problems are indicative of complex structural flaws within the pool’s foundation that need an expert’s touch—the diagnosis of the problem will be more exact, and the solution more permanent.

In fact, even preventive measures, such as a perimeter drain or a sump pump, require excavation and plumbing skills. Plus, pool leaks and electrical components can be a safety hazard. It’s best to leave tackling groundwater seepage to a professional. The last thing you want is to handle this problem erroneously and have the entire pool pop up from the ground!

What you CAN do yourself:

  • Observe and monitor: Keep an eye on the location and severity of the seepage and note down patterns or developments. Such information will help the professional to pinpoint the problem.
  • Read up: Set a bit of time aside to learn a bit more about why groundwater seepage in pools occurs. This will help you keep an eye out for possible concerns and also communicate effectively with the professional.

How Does a High Water Table Affect Your Pool?

A high water table can mean problems for your swimming pool. This is primarily because of hydrostatic pressure. Simply put, the water present in the ground exerts pressure in all directions due to the force of gravity. When you have a pool, it’s essentially a box surrounded by pressure from all sides.

Additionally, if this hydrostatic pressure is strong enough, it can push your pool out of the ground entirely or cause severe cracks to develop in the concrete or fiberglass walls of your pool, through which contaminated water can enter the water!

In the case of vinyl liner pools, a high water table can even result in the liner detaching from the pool’s floor because of the hydrostatic pressure that pushes against the liner, creating disruptions or wrinkles. A high water table can also make completing repair work or construction challenging.

Overall, a high water table means potential structural instability, leakage, construction hiccups, and water quality concerns—none of which you’ll want to deal with!

Need Some Maintenance Help?

Send me a message! I can answer any of your pool maintenance, equipment, or other questions.

Be Responsible About Groundwater Seepage

Groundwater seepage can be a major source of annoyance for pool owners. It is usually hard to detect, can cause serious structural damage to your pool and water quality issues, and the aftermath is usually time-consuming and costly to fix. Your best bet is to catch the seepage as early as possible. Better yet, prevent groundwater seepage as much as possible by using the prevention techniques outlined above.

Do you have any questions about seepage concerns or hydrostatic pressure? Drop me a message!

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