Time to drain that pool

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Protecting our jewel of Okanagan Lake from improperly drained pools and hot tubs should be top-of-mind when emptying pools and cleaning hot tubs for cooler season. 

When draining pools and hot tubs, make sure:

  • To drain to a dry area on the property over a long period of time
  • To discharge the water at a low flow rate
  • To ensure water stays on the property
  • To stop draining if it starts raining or the ground becomes saturated
  • Water is de-chlorinated before being drained into the storm sewer system
  • Salt water pools are drained into the sanitary sewer system

To protect our habitat, the Sanitary Sewer Storm Drain Regulation Bylaw restricts draining residential swimming pool and hot tub water containing disinfectants such as chlorine, saltwater and bromine into storm drains. If proper drainage onto the property is not possible, the water must be dechlorinated before being drained into the storm sewer system. Saltwater pools can drain directly into the sanitary sewer system.

Water that enters the storm sewer system through catch basins flow directly into the lake and streams. These catch basins are the grates on the road, usually found next to a sidewalk. Storm drains are different than the sanitary sewer system, which is directed to the Wastewater Treatment Facility, where water is treated before being released into the Okanagan Lake, a primary source of clean drinking water. Sanitary systems can be identified by their circular pipe with lid or a square container that, when opened, contains a pipe (the container may be marked with SEWER).

Residents who are unsure about proper drainage are encouraged to contact the City's Water Quality department at 250-469-8887 before draining their pool or hot tub to ensure they are draining into the correct system. Improper discharge of contaminated water can result in a fine of up to $2,000.