How Do I Safely Drain My Swimming Pool?


Swimming pools are a major source of chlorine pollution. Before winter, most pool owners drain their pools to prevent damage from freezing water. Water drained from pools often ends up in nearby wetlands or in storm drains that deliver the water directly to a lake, stream, and river. This highly chlorinated water is harmful to fish and wildlife. Please follow these guidelines to keep our wildlife safe when emptying a swimming pool.


Pools should be drained directly into the municipal sanitary sewer system. Call South Burlington Water Pollution Control to obtain permission prior to discharging to a sanitary sewer line.

South Burlington Water Pollution Control
(802) 658-7964

If you are unable to drain directly into the sanitary sewer system, you may be able to drain your pool to a grassed area for infiltration, or into the municipally ownedstormwater drainage system. Prior to discharge, you must coordinate with the South BurlingtonĀ  Department of Public Works (802) 658-7961 and ensure that your water meets the following standards:

  • Total and Free Chlorine levels must be below 1 ppm
  • The pH of the water must be between 6.5 and 7.5
  • Total suspended solids must be below 60 mg/l
  • Cyanuric acid must be below 100 ppm

Chlorine levels can be reduced by a few days of sunlight or by chemicals that can be purchased from a pool supply store. A pool supply store can help you solve any other problems you have with meeting this criteria.

Finally, if draining to the environment, direct the discharge to a grassy area where the water will infiltrate into the soil. This will minimize the amount of water that flows directly into streams.