Is It Legal To Drain Your Pool Into The Street? What Are The Rules For Draining?

If you’ve got a swimming pool at home, there are some occasions where you might need to drain it fully. Have you ever had to dispose of so much water before? Although your first instinct might be to just drain the water into your yard or the street, you’re going to want to think twice.

In most places, it’s illegal to drain your pool to the street. The chlorine and/or large volume of rushing water can damage the environment, including your yard. To drain properly, let the water sit and dechlorinate for 10 days (or just 1-2 for saltwater) then use a hose to drain to the storm drain.

Although draining your water into the sewers may seem like a hassle, it’s definitely the best way to proceed to keep your property, the environment, and your neighbors happy. Let’s take a closer look at why draining your pool into the street is illegal in most places and how to do it the right way.

Is It Legal to Drain Your Pool Into the Street? 

Swimming pool with sauna

In most US states, it’s not legal to drain your pool into the street, even though this might seem like a convenient option. Pool water is full of chlorine and other chemicals, meaning it can do a lot more damage to the environment than other types of water.

Furthermore, that amount of water can cause hefty flood damage when it pools around in the street and in your neighbor’s yards, and as the chemicals start to erode the environment.

If you do decide to empty your pool into the street despite these risks, you’re not only potentially harming animals and plants, but you’re likely causing your neighbors a whole host of problems.

Even if draining water out into the streets sounds harmless, it’s not. The fines are also usually thousands of dollars, and they go up every time an incident happens, so beware. 

Where Do You Drain Pool Water? 

If you’re thinking about draining your pool, you should first determine that it’s essential to do so. Draining a swimming pool is a bit of a process, and there are limited circumstances where it’s truly necessary — stabilizing the TDS and pool repairs being the primary ones.

If you have another issue with your pool, a professional can likely help you without the need for full drainage.

If you’re quite sure you need to drain the pool, then you should do so into the sewer line. Make sure you do not, however, use manhole covers.

Instead, follow these steps:

  • Stop adding chlorine to the water and let it sit for ten days to dechlorinate, checking the water to ensure it really is dechlorinated before continuing.
  • Shut off the automatic water fill and turn off the filtration system at the circuit breaker.
  • Remove the cover of the sewer clean-out access in your yard (or use a bathtub inside the house if you don’t have this).
  • Run a hose from the pool to the drain point.
  • Allow the pump to do its job.

This should successfully drain the pool through the sewer line. If you have an old sewer line or blockages (such as tree roots creeping through the pipe), you may find that it gets backed up, so keep checking periodically for signs of this.

The moment it starts to back up, you should stop what you’re doing and get a plumber involved, as you don’t want to damage your sewage system. You also shouldn’t drain your pool into a septic system.

Can You Drain Your Pool in Your Yard? 

Modern house with swimming pool

The laws about draining a pool into your own yard vary from place to place (and are usually based on water waste laws) but even if it’s technically allowed, it’s not a great idea for a few reasons.

The chlorine in the pool can damage your yard, including the plants and wildlife. While small amounts of chlorine are generally fine for grass, the amount present in your pool could cause a lot of damage.

Furthermore, you may not be able to contain the water in your yard and could severely underestimate how much there is. If it spills out of your yard and into the neighbors’ yards or the street, you’re damaging other property too — and you may face some hefty fines for doing so.

It’s best to take the time to empty your pool the proper way, as the hassle of fines and environmental damage is so much more than the hassle of a proper draining!

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