Draining Pools, Spas, and Fountains
Getting water into pools and fountains is easy—but getting it back out can be more challenging!
Storm drains flow directly into our creeks and the Bay without treatment. The water drained from pools, spas, and fountains contain pollutants that will affect water quality and are especially harmful to plant and aquatic life. Therefore, nothing should ever be drained into the street or storm drain.
Here are helpful tips for how to properly drain your swimming pool, hot tub, spa, or fountains:
What to Do
- Dechlorinate the water first and use a test kit to verify.
- For most in-ground pools, use a built-in line to drain through a sanitary sewer.
- For spas and fountains, use a garden hose to pump into a sewer cleanout (if you have one) or an indoor drain such as a bathtub.
- If you don’t have a cleanout, discharge onto a lawn or other area on your property that can hold the water without overflowing, ponding, or causing erosion.
- Dispose of filter material and collected material in the trash.
What Not to Do
- Don't drain into storm drains; this pollutes local waterways and can harm aquatic wildlife.
- Don't drain into a septic system; this can cause a system failure.
- Don't drain into a toilet; the water drains faster than the time needed for flushing and refilling.
How to Dechlorinate Your Pool or Spa
- To dechlorinate naturally, simply allow the water to sit in the sun for 5-10 days without adding any chlorine. Operate the filter system to keep the water circulating and speed up the dechlorination process.
- You can also use a chemical additive to dechlorinate water.
- Use a pool testing kit to verify that water is dechlorinated.
- Dispose of filter material and collected debris in the trash.
Draining Your Pool or Spa to a Sanitary Sewer System
- Draining your pool into a sanitary sewer system is the preferred option.
- Most in-ground pools have a drain line connected to the sewer line. This should be used only after the pool water has been dechlorinated.
- If your pool is not connected directly to the sewer, locate a sanitary sewer cleanout on your property. These are most often found along the sewer line, which is usually aligned with the water lines to the house. You can also drain into a bathtub or other indoor drain.
- Use a garden hose and pump the water into the cleanout or indoor drain.
- Replace all cleanout covers when finished.
- Note: Do NOT drain your pool into a septic system or toilet, as this may cause a system failure.
Draining Your Pool or Spa onto Your Lawn/Landscape Area
- If there is no sanitary sewer cleanout, it is acceptable to drain dechlorinated water to grass, turf, or any area on your property that will allow water to percolate into the ground.
- Be sure the area is large enough to hold the discharge without overflowing, causing erosion (which can allow dirt, silt, and sediment to enter the storm drain system along with the polluted swimming pool water).
- Be sure the discharge does not flow onto neighboring properties, or cause flooding of your neighbor’s property.
- Do not allow the discharge to cause prolonged ponding, which can allow mosquitos and other pests to grow.
Who and When to Call
- For questions regarding discharging into the sanitary sewer systems in Campbell, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, or Saratoga, call the West Valley Sanitation District at 408-378-2407.
- If you see anything other than rain being discharged into the storm drain, contact the West Valley Clean Water Authority at 408-354-5375 or report online.
General Guidelines for Pool Owners and Cleaning Services
Whether you maintain your pool yourself or hire a professional pool service, here are some ways that you can enjoy your pool while protecting local waterways and wildlife:
- Resolve persistent algae problems without using copper algaecides.
- Never clean a filter in the street, gutter, or near a storm drain. Instead, rinse filters onto a dirt area and spade filter residue into the soil.
- Keep backwash discharges out of the street and storm drain. Instead, backwash sand and diatomaceous earth filters onto a dirt area.
- Dispose of spent filter materials in the trash.
- Properly dispose of unwanted pool care products at a local hazardous waste collection center.