Water & Sewer

Emptying Your Pool, Hot Tub or Spa

If you own a swimming pool, hot tub or spa, you have a responsibility and legal obligation to safely maintain and operate it in compliance with Hamilton’s Sewer Use By-law No. 14-090.  The City sets requirements for the proper operation, maintenance and seasonal closure of pools, hot tubs and spas to protect water quality.

Chemicals in pools

The water from pools is filled with chemicals. Pools have chemicals such as:

  • Chlorine
  • Bromine
  • Salt
  • Copper-based algaecides
  • Nonylphenols
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates

These are harmful to the fish and organisms that live in the creeks and rivers across Hamilton and Lake Ontario. Emptying thousands of residential pools in Hamilton can have a significant negative impact.

How to empty your pool

Do not add chemicals to your pool, hot tub or spa for two weeks before emptying it.

Both chlorine and salt water pools can be emptied onto your property, as long as the water absorbs into the ground. Consider the slope and surface of your property and the rate of which the water is discharged. This water should not be running towards your home or your neighbour’s property.

Here are some tips for emptying water from chlorine and salt water pools:

Chlorine pools:

  • Dechlorinate water before you discharge it into the storm sewer system
  • Do not empty the pool on a rainy day

Salt water pools:

  • Carefully discharge salt water to the sanitary system located on your property (through a laundry tub, sink or bathtub) or hire a Ministry of the Environment approved water hauler to remove it.