How to Drain a Pool or Hot Tub

In order to protect the environment and our waterways, there are mandatory requirements that pool owners and pool service providers must follow on how to safely drain water from pools and hot tubs.

The chemicals in pools/hot tubs that keep the water clean and safe for swimming are harmful to fish and other wildlife. Chlorinated or salt water should not be released into the storm sewer system as it will go untreated into the nearest waterway and eventually, Lake Ontario.

Pool water should also never be discharged into or onto the ground near a ravine or valley as this will cause erosion and serious damage to vegetation.

Chlorine pools and hot tubs

De-chlorinate the water from the pool or hot tub before discharging it into the storm sewer system. Avoid discharging on a rainy day as it will overwhelm the system. You can find de-chlorination pucks at local pool and spa stores.

Saltwater pools

Water from saltwater pools cannot be emptied into the storm sewer system. You can either:

  1. Discharge the salt water into the sanitary system connection located on your property; or
  2. The water can be hauled away by a Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) approved water hauler.

Emptying pool water on the ground

Before emptying pool water, consider the slope and surface of the property and the rate in which water is discharged to ensure it is absorbed in the ground and not running towards the home or a neighbour’s property.

How to report a spill

Pool owners or pool service providers are legally obligated to report a spill to provincial and municipal authorities if your pool water has been spilled into a stream, river, lake or the storm sewer system (without proper treatment). To report a spill contact: