Have a pool? Make sure to drain it properly this fall

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Failing to follow the Sewer By-Law could result in a fine

An outdoor pool with stairs to enter and exit.
Credit: ID 135627136 © Zwawol | Dreamstime.com

As home owners begin to get their properties ready for winter, pool owners are reminded to take all the necessary steps to ensure it is drained properly.

The City’s Sewer By-Law regulates the drainage of swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs, and spas.

It is against the bylaw to drain pool water into a manhole, onto a neighbouring property, sidewalk, or into a waterway, such as retention ponds or creeks.

Pool water may be drained into the sewer drain inside your home, but we recommend contacting a plumber to make sure you’re draining into the correct drain. There is commonly a sewer drain built into the floor somewhere inside your home and a plumber would be able to help locate this and confirm whether it has the capacity to move the water being drained from your pool into the City’s sewer system. It’s important to note your sump pit would not work as a drain because it’s not connected to our sewer system.

Pool water can also be drained onto your lawn. The water must remain on your property until it evaporates or soaks into the ground. Before doing this, make sure to let your pool sit for a week or longer without adding chemicals. This allows the chlorine in the water to break down to a less harmful level.

“The water should then be drained slowly so that it is absorbed and does not pond,” said Meghan Marsland,  Industrial Waste Services Branch Head.

You, or your pool service provider, must have a Wastewater Discharge License to drain pool water onto a street, into a ditch, or in a catch basin. The license is valid for five years and is subject to an initial and annual renewal fee. The license will outline terms and conditions that must be met to ensure compliance with the by-law.

The process is slightly different for salt water pools. They have high levels of sodium chloride that can harm the storm sewer, so the water cannot be drained into the catch basin. The salt water can be drained into your wastewater sewer, onto your lawn, or you can hire a licensed wastewater hauler to remove it.

Failing to follow the Sewer By-Law could result in a violation notice and fine. Anyone with questions relating to this, or the Wastewater Discharge License, should contact 311.

Originally published on September 18, 2019

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