Ask LA Stormwater: Can I drain my pool water into the street?


A: Yes, but there are things to consider first. Draining your pool can wreak havoc on the environment if it’s not done properly. When poured down storm drains, chemical-laden pool water ultimately makes its way to local waterways, where it can kill off fish and seriously threaten water quality.

The City of Los Angeles allows you to drain into storm drains or sanitary sewer systems. (Never drain water into a private septic system.)  If you need to drain your pool, stay waterway-friendly with these easy practices:

  • Let the pool water sit for at least five days without adding chlorine or de-chlorinizing agents to clear it of potential pollutants.
  • Before discharging pool water into a storm drain, check the drain’s corner catch basin to make sure it’s not clogged. Since clogged basins can lead to flooding, call (800) 974-9794 to report basins in need of cleaning.
  • Discharge pool water into storm drains only from the hours of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • If rain has recently hit your area, wait at least 48 hours until after the rain has stopped to avoid overwhelming the sanitary sewer system.
  • If your pool water contains copper-based algaecides or dyes, it cannot be discharged to the storm drain system. Dyed water can be drained into the sanitary sewer system only under certain conditions.

To keep your pool clean all season long—and prevent the need for future draining—stick with these tips for smarter pool care:

  • As you’re clearing out your pool filters, let the diatomaceous earth waste dry and then repurpose it as a mineral-rich soil amendment for your lawn or garden. You can also get rid of filter waste by trashing it in your City-issued black bin.
  • To curb the corrosion of copper pipes in your pool’s plumbing system, keep close track of the water’s pH levels. If washed into rivers or lakes, corroded copper can harm salmon and other aquatic life.
  • When tossing old pool chemicals, drop them off at your nearest S.A.F.E Center. Completely free of charge, S.A.F.E Centers will take household hazardous waste off your hands so that it won’t end up in landfills, eventually releasing toxins into our air, soil and groundwater.


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