Pool Water Disposal
Water from pools, hot tubs and spas is filled with products and chemicals that keep them clean and safe for swimming.
However, in large amounts these chemicals can be harmful to the environment and toxic to fish and organisms that live in creeks and rivers across Vaughan and in Lake Ontario. By disposing of pool water and the associated chemicals correctly, citizens are helping reduce stormwater pollution. Water from chlorine pools should never be poured down a catch basin.
The City of Vaughan takes draining pool, hot tub and spa water seriously. If pool water is discharged incorrectly, the City’s fine for a first offence can be anywhere between $25,000 to $100,000 for subsequent offences made by the property owner or pool company.
Safe water disposal practices
Opening the pool in the spring:
Rainwater or melted snow collected on your pool, hot tub or spa cover can be discharged by a hose to your nearest catch basin once all debris, leaves or pet waste have been removed.
Closing your pool or disposing water:
The best way to dispose of water from both chlorine and saltwater pools, including backwash water from the filter, is onto your lawn surrounding your property, ONLY if and when the following conditions are met:
- The water has a pH greater than 6.0 and less than 9.0.
- The water is dechlorinated before discharging.
- The water is free of debris, vegetation or algae.
- The private residence does not back onto a ravine or valley.
- The water can be properly absorbed into the lawn. You must consider the slope and surface of your property and the rate with which the water is removed and absorbed into the ground to ensure it does not run towards your home or your neighbour’s property.
- The water must be in compliance with substance limits in the Sewer Use By-law 130-2022 (PDF).
Saltwater and backwash water from the filter may be disposed of into the sanitary sewer inside your home as a last option. A connection to the sanitary sewer system is located inside your home, such as a toilet, laundry sink, kitchen sink or bathtub.
What not to do:
- Never drain chlorinated water or salt water directly into a catch basin.
- Never discharge pool water into a ravine or valley, or onto the ground near a ravine or valley because this water will be harmful to the natural environment.
- Don’t discharge water on a rainy day or during peak times; aim for evenings after 8 p.m. or weekends after 10 a.m. on clear sunny days.
- Don’t add chemicals to a chlorinated pool, hot tub or spa for two weeks before draining.
Safe disposal of pool, hot tub or spa chemicals
Leftover or expired pool chemicals are considered household hazardous waste and must be properly disposed of at any one of York Region’s Hazardous Waste Depots.
Reporting a spill and/or pollution
Protecting the source of our drinking water is everyone’s responsibility. Only rain and melted snow should go down a catch basin. Pesticides, motor oil, fertilizers and other chemicals, even those found in pool water should never go down a catch basin.
As the owner of a private swimming pool, hot tub or spa, you and any pool service providers hired have a responsibility and legal obligation to safely maintain and operate in compliance with the City's Sewer Use By-law 130-2022 (PDF). Under this By-Law, pool water must be safely discharged onto the lawn surrounding your home. The last option for disposal for saltwater pools or the backwash from the pool filter, is into a sanitary sewer system, where the water would be treated.
You and your hired pool service provider are legally obligated to report a spill if your pool water has leaked into a stream, river, lake or the storm sewer system.
For more information on draining your pool or to report a spill or unintended discharge, contact:
by phone at 905-832-2281
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Government of Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
by phone at 416-325-3000
toll-free: 1-800-268-6060 TTY: 1-855-889-5775
Online at, https://report-pollution.ene.gov.on.ca/
- I Don't Flush Campaign
- Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
- Report pollution and spills
- Sewer Use By-law 130-2022 (PDF)
- Sewer Use By-law FAQs (PDF)
- Water and Wastewater Financial Services Department
- York Region and Municipal Inflow and Infiltration Reduction Program
- York Region Hazardous Waste Depot