How should I drain my pool or hot tub?

Swimming pool and hot tub water can contain chlorine, bromine or other cleaning compounds that can be toxic to aquatic life, even at low levels.  Whether you or a hired contractor drain, backwash or clean the pool or tub, certain criteria must be met before releasing water into the environment.

Businesses that clean, drain, or maintain private or public pools must register with the CT-DEP for a General Permit for the Discharge of Swimming Pool Wastewater.  Owners of private residential pools do not have to register, but must comply with all conditions in the general permit.

Swimming pool wastewaters may be discharged toward a stream or wetland, or into a storm drain, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The pH of the discharge shall be between 6.5 and 8.0 standard units.
  • The total residual chlorine or bromine shall be non-detectable (less than 0.1 mg/l).
  • The discharge shall not cause foaming or discoloration of any stream or wetland.
  • No algae or sanitation control chemicals are used (other than bromine or chlorine based). Chemicals to adjust pH may also be used.
  • The discharge shall not cause scouring of any stream or wetland.

Acid cleaning, pressure wash, or swimming pool filtration backwash wastewaters may not be discharged toward any stream, wetland, storm drain or catch basin.

Pool owners who live in the Farmington River Watershed and the Phelps Brook Watershed should be extra cautious.

When in doubt, seek the advice of the CT-DEP, Bureau of Water Management, Permitting, Enforcement & Remediation Division at (860) 424-3018.

There are approximately 1,000 in-ground pools in Windsor and an unknown number of above ground pools and hot tubs. That’s a lot of chemically treated water that could make its way into streams and wetlands if not properly discharged. Enjoy the pleasures of a pool, but please be environmentally responsible.