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

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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 pool water 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 adding 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 outlined in the Los Angeles Municipal Code 64.30.

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.

If you are refilling your drained pool, you can apply for a Residential Sewer Service Charge (RSSC) Adjustment.

Photo courtesy of Mistered.com

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Comments (20)

  1. Mandy Williams
    September 14th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I do not have curbside storm drain access on my street. If I follow all procedures regarding limiting the amount of chemicals I put into my pool water before draining it, can I drain it directly into the sewer cleanout in my front yard? Thank you!

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      November 16th, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Hi Mandy,
      Please forgive us for dropping the ball and not getting back to you regarding this issue in a timely manner. Yes, if all procedures regarding the pool water chemicals are followed, you may drain your pool as you specified. – Joyce Amaro, LA Stormwater Public Education Program

  2. Mara
    May 8th, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Do I need a permit to drain my pool?

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      May 9th, 2017 at 10:31 am

      You do not need a permit to drain your pool. Please follow the good housekeeping practices outlined in the blog post and thank you!

  3. Todd
    June 16th, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I live in the hills in 91423 (Sherman Oaks) and my up-hill neighbor keeps draining his pool onto my downhill property.
    I’ve asked him not to do so as well as put up a sign but to no avail.
    Is there any recourse?
    The water is killing my fruit trees and has eroded my hillside and walkways.
    Desperate for a recourse.

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      June 20th, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Please send an e-mail to [email protected] with the specifics about the issue you’re seeing/experiencing and provide the neighbor’s address. We will make sure it gets forwarded onto the appropriate environmental compliance / inspection staff member. If you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know in your e-mail. Thank you!

  4. Brian
    June 20th, 2017 at 10:01 am

    My neighbor cleans his pool filter in our gutters, is that legal and if not how can I report him?? There’s always s white chalky substance left in the gutters when he does this.

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      June 20th, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Please send an e-mail to [email protected] with the specifics about the issue you’re seeing/experiencing and provide the neighbor’s address. We will make sure it gets forwarded onto the appropriate environmental compliance / inspection staff member. If you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know in your e-mail. Thank you!

  5. JF
    October 6th, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Does the Information in this post apply to the West Hills area (91307)? Thanks!

  6. Jerry
    March 23rd, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Residential Sewer Service Charge (RSSC) Adjustment link does not work.

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      April 6th, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Jerry,

      Thanks for pointing that out. We updated the link with the correct address. It should work now.

      -LA Stormwater

  7. Mildred Olivo
    June 28th, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Can I emptie pool on outside I do not have a pool drain.and I do not have street drainso now what all the time is out is just plane water help me please live in Las vegas

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      July 3rd, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Mildred,

      The information that we provide is for City of Los Angeles residents. You live in Las Vegas so you should check with your local Public Works Department that handles Stormwater or Watershed issues.

      Good luck!

  8. Kenneth L. Lopez
    July 28th, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I live in Carson, CA. I have in ground pool, can I drain my pool and dispose the water onto the street curb and let the water drain to drains. Thank you for providing me this information.

    Kenneth Lopez

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      August 2nd, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Hi Kenneth,

      We recommend calling the City of Carson for more information at (310) 952-1740. Typically, pool water can be disposed of after the chemicals from the pool water have been properly removed and/or neutralized. Please call to check your city’s guidelines.

      Hope this helps.

  9. Megan
    August 6th, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Hi there,

    Trying to fill out the RSSC form (quickly) to refill our pool. I’ve followed the link but got Error 404-Not Found. I’ve gone to the LA Sanitation site and searched both “Pool refill” and “RSSC” and found nothing. Help?

    Thanks!

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      August 7th, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Thank you Megan for bringing it to our attention. The link should be updated now.

  10. Patricia
    September 26th, 2018 at 7:53 am

    In LA county how long can a swimming pool be empty if there are no plans to fill it does it require a cover?

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      October 5th, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      Hello Patricia,

      Currently, we can only provide you with information on how to properly drain your pool. We recommend contacting LA County for further instructions on leaving an empty pool uncovered. Contact them here: https://dpw.lacounty.gov/swq/contact.aspx. Hope this helps!

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