Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Time to clean the swimming pool but where to drain the water?

MEDIA RELEASE:  For Immediate Release – 14 May 2020

Time to clean the swimming pool but where to drain the water?

It’s that time of year when you are likely thinking about getting the pool or hot tub ready for the summer season.  It’s a good idea to prepare by first checking with your local town or city to find out what you should do with the water when you drain the pool.  “Beware, that releasing pool or hot tub water containing chlorine or salt directly into the street or a storm drain could bring a very heavy fineThat’s because those chemicals would then flow untreated into a local stream, river or lake and could result in a fish die-off or be very harmful to aquatic life”, said Linda Heron, Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA).

Your City or Town will have a sewer use by-law that outlines the requirements for the draining of hot tubs and pools. For instance, the City of Guelph provides the details of how to do this and are available on their website.

Pools and hot tubs need to be left uncovered to dechlorinate and then should be drained into a laundry tub or another drain connected to the City’s sanitary sewer system where it will be treated. If that isn’t possible, pools should be slowly drained onto the owner’s lawn or garden so the ground can absorb it, but ensure it doesn’t flow onto your neighbour’s property.

If you see anyone draining pools into the street or storm sewer system, you should immediately report the spill to the City and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (Pollution Hotline:  1-800-268-6060).

You should also know that when your city treats wastewater, part of the process includes de-chlorination before the treated water is discharged into the receiving stream.

The ORA recommends that you call your local City or Town to find out what they recommend”, said Linda Heron.


The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization acting as a voice for several stewardships, associations, private and Indigenous members who have come together to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems. 

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Linda Heron
Chair, Ontario Rivers Alliance
Tel: (705) 866-1677