Hays city commissioners OK new fine for draining pools in alleys

Hays Post

Despite objections from two local pool service contractors, the Hays City Commissioner on Thursday voted to prohibit the drainage of pools into alleyways in Hays.

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The change also creates an water-wasting exemption for those draining pools and hot tubs.

The idea for the ordinance was brought up by Commissioner Ron Mellick at a June work session after he noticed the practice was damaging alleyways and “ticking off” neighbors who lived close to people who drained pools and hot tubs into alleys.

“We’ve spent a lot of money trying to upgrade the alleys. … When Public Works tries to work over these alleys, some of them are better than others and some of them have a steep slope, which makes it hard to keep the rock in there that public works puts in there,” Mellick said when raised the issue.

According to City Manager Toby Dougherty, before the ordinance was passed, the city “reached out” to property owners who were draining pools and hot tubs into alleys and they had “limited amount of success” in stopping them. Property owners will now face a $250 fine if they are caught draining pools into unpaved alleyways.

Several concerns were brought up during the meeting by commissioners and residents. Henry Hartman of Kleerwater Inc. told commissioners that throughout his 40 years in the pool-servicing business, he never saw alley damage caused by pool drainage.

“If the alleyway is constructed properly, (the water) will flow down the side of the alley,” Hartman said. “If you’re just back flushing a sand filler, it usually takes about two minutes with a 60 gallon per minute pump — that’s like leaving a garden hose in the alleyway for five minutes. It doesn’t create puddles or destroy the rockbed. It really doesn’t do anything harmful.

“Imposing a $250 fine for putting a little bit of water down the alley, to me is ludicrous,” he added. “I’ve got approximately 250 to 300 customers … in this town and about every single one of them backwashes into the alleyway.”

Mayor Henry Schwaller said fining people was “too onerous” and offered the idea of putting together an education program about the issue.

Commissioner Eber Phelps supported the measure, stating the fine could serve as “an ace in the hole” for those who drain pools into alleyways.

“I think if people are cognizant of the fact that there is a pending fine, they will look for alternative ways to drain their pools,” he said.

Mellick mentioned past experiences that residents encountered where somebody drained a pool into an alleyway and the city had to repair it. Two weeks later, the same person drained their pool again, and the city had to come back and repair the damaged alley again.

“People say that if it rains, we’ve got the same problem,” Mellick said. “There’s a difference between rain and people draining pools — one is Mother Nature and the other is somebody doing it intentionally.

“This is not for the people that are community-minded, who care about their neighbors and care about their city. This ordinance would only affect people who are doing this intentionally.”

According to Dougherty, there are approximately 134 pools in the city of Hays and an unknown number of hot tubs.

  • Company Man

    Good thing we got this taken care of. Those two people in 18,000 that were doing this are in trouble now. Good job Ron you have accomplished your personal vendetta.

  • bonkers

    big brother watching out for us again. thanks ron.

  • Duh

    Sounds like Ron got angry, decided to puff his chest and show off his power. Glad he was able to bring to light such an important issue.

  • Wasting Time

    More government where it is not needed.

  • Annoyed

    Some people complain no matter what the issue is…..do you always need to criticize?? Why don’t you all just run for a seat on the City Commission and see how it goes for you??

    • joeyboy

      its america. we’re allowed to complain if we want to. its called free speech.

    • DryInHace

      Your whining sounds familiar…

    • Yahooserious

      Because i’m smarter then them. I don’t like to work with dumb people. It really doesn’t take inteligence to write a law about swiming pools when people can’t even water their lawn or wash a vehicle they pay taxes on every year. No, instead, we eneact swimming pool laws. Way to go Hays City Commission… job well done, fellas. <— that's sarcasm.

      • I think he is mad let me ask.


  • one percenter

    Pool owners and service folk should be made to hire an oilfield water truck that would be required to haul the water to the effluent pond at the golf course so the water stays in use by 1%ers.

  • John

    Tim Flax must have paid Hays Post a pretty penny to get the arrest log completely changer!

    • k

      I agree! He must be really proud of himself!

  • Cool Runnings

    You’re all jive turkeys. Everyone complains about unnecessary spending, but no one cares that it costs a lot of money to repair these alleyways when the pool owners could just drain their pools on the street. I suppose y’all gotta have something to complain about.

    • Yahooserious

      alleyway repair.. lmao. I’m sure that’s intense. Lower your property value having a soggy allyway? omg cool runnings… what does it take to repair an allyway? a backhoe maybe.. 1 or 2 men? Such a major issue here. We are in a drought .. i say we ban swimming pools, h*ll, lets pan baths, showers.. water fountains.. Not sure how many times I stepped up to a soggy water fountain. OMG.

  • Yahooserious

    man finally they came down witht the hammer on those swiming pools… such a rash of soggy allyways. Major MAJOR problem in HAYS KS USA. How about triming some f*ing hedges so I can see what is left and right of me at a stop sign? how about sweeping up the f*cking sand at EVERY drainage intersection? must have see at least 10 bikes layover cause of f*cking road debree so far.. this City has no clue.. idiots.

    • Yahooserious

      I havent’ seen a streat sweeper in .. well .. not at all this summer. I bet they are out and about in northwest Hays… Do your damn job.. clean our streats and intersections before someone gets killed.

  • Jeff

    There are almost 200 private in-ground pools in Hays. Many more above ground I am sure. No I am not Ron but I support his argument. I am sure if any of you had alley issues you would be calling your commissioner as well. Be positive for once people!

  • concerned citizen

    Glad the Aquatic Park uses and drains over 700,000 gallons with no issues during our “water shortage”

  • Thanks!

    I’m glad they passed this ordinance! I’ve seen the damage this can cause and it takes more than 1-2 employees and a backhoe to fix these areas. I’ve also seen the street sweeper out along 22nd, Main, etc. but it’s been in the early mornings for those that sleep in and don’t hear it! Some people that make comments should check their facts first before making themselves sound like an idiot (they should also spell check they’re posts – when you misspell works you sound even more stupid!). There are pool owners that have been asked and cautioned about how to drain their pool properly and they just don’t care and do what they want. Some believe they are better than everyone else so hopefully a $250 file will actual make them wake up and be responsible!!

    • Ironic post is ironic

      Spell check their posts*
      when you misspell words*
      a $250 fine*
      Thanks for the laugh