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

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

September 18, 2019

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

Credit: ID 135627136 © Zwawol |

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 can be drained into your home’s wastewater sewer (not the sump pit), or 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 Glen Hagen, Industrial Waste Services Branch Head.

You, or your pool service provider, must have a Wastewater Discharge Licence to drain pool water onto a street, into a ditch, or in a catch basin. The licence is valid for five years and is subject to an initial and annual renewal fee. The licence 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 Licence, should contact 311.

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