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Draining your swimming pool, wading pool, hot tub or spa tub

What is my responsibility as the pool owner?

swimming pool photo As the owner of a swimming pool, wading pool, hot tub or spa tub, you (and any pool service providers you hire) are responsible for complying with the Sewer By-law when draining your pool.

What is the City of Winnipeg's responsibility?

We are responsible for ensuring pool owners and pool service providers comply with the Sewer By-law. This includes:

  • education,
  • inspections, and
  • corrective measures (e.g., issuing By-law violation notices and orders, taking matters to court if needed).
How should I drain my pool water to comply with the By-law?

Pool water includes water from swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs and spa tubs. You may drain pool water:

  • to the wastewater sewer (not the sump pit) in your home, or
  • onto your lawn, ensuring that the water remains on the property until it evaporates or soaks into the ground.

Under the By-law, the pool owner or the pool service provider must have a Wastewater Discharge Licence to drain pool water:

  • onto a street or lane,
  • into a ditch or catch basin (storm drain).

It is against the By-law (Part 7, Section 53) to drain pool water:

  • into a manhole,
  • onto neighbouring property or sidewalk,
  • into a waterway (e.g., retention pond, creek, river).
Why do I need a Wastewater Discharge Licence?

The licence will outline conditions that will help protect our waterways from harmful pool chemicals (e.g., chlorine, bromine, algaecides, biocides, water conditioners).

Is there a cost for the licence?

Yes. There is an initial fee and an annual renewal fee. The licence is valid for five years.

How should I dispose of the water from my salt water pool?

Salt water pools have high levels of sodium chloride (salt) that can harm the storm sewer, so you must not drain your pool water into the catch basin (storm drain). You can dispose of the salt water in one of the following ways:

  • drain the water to the wastewater sewer (not the sump pit) in your home,
  • drain the water onto your lawn, or
  • hire a licensed wastewater hauler to remove the water.
How should I drain my pool water onto my lawn?
  • Before draining, 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.
  • Drain the water slowly so that it is absorbed and does not pond.
  • If you have limited yard space, drain the water over time, allowing the area to dry before continuing.
  • Ensure the water does not drain onto the street, lane, sidewalk or neighbouring properties.
What should I do with the water collected on my pool cover when opening my pool for the season?

Drain pool cover water onto your lawn.

How should I drain backwash water from my pool filters?

You can drain backwash water:

  • to the catch basin if you have a Wastewater Discharge Licence, and the water has been filtered and dechlorinated,
  • to the wastewater sewer (not the sump pit) in your home, or
  • onto your lawn.
Where can I get more information or apply for a licence?

Contact 311.

Last updated: September 5, 2019

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