Pool Draining Guide

Posted on: October 6, 2023

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the end of summer is quickly approaching.

While that means pumpkin-spiced lattes, football, and changing leaves are all around the corner, it might also mean you are thinking about closing your pool for the season. 

There are several things you should consider when preparing for the end of the season to help protect the natural resources and infrastructure in your area.

Draining Pool Water 101

  1.   Make Sure Pool Water is Chemical-Free Before Draining

Let pool water stand for a week (7 days) without adding any additional chemicals. This allows for chlorine to dissipate from the water. The pH range should be between 6.5 and 8.0, and residual chlorine/bromine needs to be less than 1.0 mg/l (ppm) before discharging. You can use a home test kit or strips to verify levels. Before draining, clear as much sediment, debris, leaves, etc., from the pool water as you can.

Note: Any pool chemicals, pool filter backwash, and saltwater pool discharges are prohibited from being discharged in stormwater systems and drainage channels leading to steams. Water that is conveyed through stormwater systems is not treated prior to being discharged into natural waterways.

  1. Be Mindful of Where You are Draining

Once pool water is free of all chemicals, the water should be discharged over landscaped areas, lawns, or woods. These areas soak up water better than bare soils and help to prevent erosion and sediment runoff. This practice also prevents picking up additional contaminants off hard surfaces like roadways or sidewalks. Be sure to keep the discharges on your property to prevent hardship to any neighbors.


  1. Don’t Drain Everything at Once

The best practice is to drain the water slowly over a few days to allow for the absorption of water. Spreading the water out over an area can also help to prevent erosion from the discharge rather than a fast-moving, concentrated stream. If draining from a hose, move the hose around to prevent continued saturation in one area.


  1. Don’t Drain the Pool Directly into the Septic System

This can overwhelm the system and cause failures. Failed septic systems can discharge waste that has not been properly treated and pollute stormwater systems and natural waterways as well.  


Bonus Tips to Protect Your Natural Waterways – Make sure your pool chemicals are stored in labeled and lidded containers in a secure and dry storage area. Make sure that you are disposing of any leftover chemicals or storage containers according to the directions on the container.

Article supplied by the Warren County Soil &Water Conservations District