Can You Drain Your Pool Into the Sewer for Backwashing?

Draining a pool can seem like a momentous and somewhat daunting task, but it has to be done from time to time. You might need to backwash it because there’s debris trapped somewhere in there, or perhaps a repair needs to be done and it requires the pool to be empty. However, how exactly do you drain it? Can you drain your pool into the sewer?

Backwashing is a form of draining, and you can drain your pool to the sewer. Before draining, you should dechlorinate the water. You can use a hose to connect the pool water to the sewer access point or a drain inside the house. Backwashing to the yard, or the street, is not recommended.

If you’ve decided that you need to drain your pool into the sewer, you’re probably wondering how exactly to go about it. If you’ve never done it before, you might not even be sure where to start. Let’s take a closer look at draining a pool into the sewer so you can do it right.

Where Are You Supposed to Drain Pool Water?

Modern house with garden swimming pool and wooden deck

The only place you’re officially supposed to drain pool water is into the sewer. Although some places do allow you to drain it into your yard, it’s a much riskier method since it can often overflow into neighbors’ properties or even into the street.

Pool water in the street is illegal in most states, as it can damage property and the environment — especially if you didn’t dechlorinate it and balance the pH first.

The best (and often only legal) place to drain your pool water is into the sewer. This safely gets rid of the water without the risk of damaging or killing wildlife and plants, so it’s really the only way to go.

How to Drain Your Pool Into the Sewer

The first thing you’re going to want to do is dechlorinate the water. This can easily be achieved by leaving it to sit without adding chlorine for five to ten days or by buying a dechlorinator (on Amazon) if you’re in a hurry. You should check there’s no chlorine left in the water before proceeding.

Next, buy a submersible sump pump (on Amazon) and insert it into the deep end of the pool. Attach a hose to the sump pump and then find the sewer access point. If you have two, use the one closest to the house itself and attach the other side of the hose to it.

Now you can slowly drain the water. Make sure to keep an eye on it, since it’s a lot of water and it could get backed up if you try to move to quickly. The water should drain slowly through the sewer line to ensure a smooth transition out of the pool. 

Potential Problems With Draining Your Pool Into the Sewer

An empty swimming pool with sunlight reflected on the water

Although this is the safest way to get rid of pool water, there are a couple of potential problems with draining your pool into the sewer.

Unable to Find the Access Point

If you don’t have a sewer access point near your house (or if you can’t find it), you can run the hose into the house and drain it through the bathtub. Poke it through an open window or door and everything should run exactly the same way.

Be especially mindful not to go too quickly though; you certainly don’t want water overflowing inside your house.

The Sewer Backing Up

As with any time you flush a lot of water through the sewer line, there’s a chance of it backing up. This is particularly true if you already have undetected issues, like tree roots growing through the line.

So before you empty your pool, if you’ve noticed even slight problems before, have a professional plumber run a camera and check out the line to make sure it’s safe to use.

Even if you’re sure it’s safe, keep an eye on things. Unexpected problems can still occur. If, at any point, you notice that it’s starting to back up, cease what you’re doing immediately and call a plumber. 

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