Desert Ridge Monument Sign

Pool Water Discharge Requirements

You cannot drain a pool/spa from your property into the street or washes? Not only is this a violation of the governing documents for the community, but it is also against the law.

It is an environmental hazard for high salinity or highly chlorinated water such as pool water to go into the storm drain system. Draining or discharging pool/spa water into the street is against City Code Sec. 32C-103., and anyone who violates the ordinance is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and it is punishable with up to a $2,500 fine. As with any illegal activity, if you see something, say and do something. Report improper pool/spa drainage to the City of Phoenix Environmental Services Stormwater Hotline at 602-256-3190. You can also submit a complaint form to the Desert Ridge Community Association (DRCA).

So how are you supposed to legally drain a pool and/or spa? When draining large amounts of water, or completely draining your pool/spa you must discharge it through your home’s sewer clean out. The clean-out is usually located outside at the point closest to the city sewer line, typically outside a bathroom or the kitchen. On some older homes, the clean-out might be located in the wall. On other homes, it is at ground level, but may be obscured by landscaping. Older homes usually have only one opening, while newer ones have two clean-out pipes leading to the sewer line. A threaded cap, usually black and 3 to 4 inches in diameter, covers the opening. If you cannot locate the clean out, or a sidewalk or a patio has covered it, consult a plumber about installing one.

The maximum recommended discharge rate is 12 gallons per minute (720 gal/hr). However, the safe flow rate may be less, depending on the size of the drain line, distance to the sewer main, and the condition of the pipe. Most pool filter pumps will discharge too much water too fast and may cause water to backup into the yard or the house. The safest approach is to rent a submersible pump, connect it to a garden hose and slowly empty the pool. A pump that operates at 700 gallons per hour is about the right size.

Procedure for using the sewer clean-out

  1. Locate the clean-out. If there are two, use the one closest to the home.
  2. Remove the cap and insert the drain hose a few inches into the pipe.
  3. Secure the drain hose so it won’t pop out.
  4. Turn on the pump.
  5. Immediately check to ensure no water is backing up into the house. Drains in showers and tubs are the first places to check.
  6. If the water backs up, turn off the pump immediately. You may have a blockage, or the flow rate is too high.

Note: Do not install the pool drain line as a permanent fixture. This may violate the city plumbing code or county health regulations and could contaminate the water when you refill the pool.


Ask CAO Jeffrey Blair

Officer Jeffrey Blair

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This