Drain and Backwash Pools Legally*
Here’s How: When you need to backwash your pool filter or drain the pool, try to use the water to irrigate landscaping. Do not drain pool water into the streets, alleys, washes, ditches, or other city of Phoenix right of ways.* (These are part of the storm drain system.)
NOTE: Take care when using pool water to irrigate landscaping plants since it contains more salt and chlorine than tap water. Allow the chlorine to ‘burn off’ for a day or two before using the water for landscaping purposes.
If you have to drain a large amount of water – such as emptying the whole pool – put it down the home’s sanitary sewer cleanout! The cleanout is usually located next to the house at the point closest to the city sewer line, and can usually be found outside a bathroom or kitchen. On some older homes, the cleanout is located in the wall; on other homes it is at ground level, but may be hidden or covered. If you have an alley, cleanouts are usually found in the backyard. A threaded black cap, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, covers the opening. If you cannot locate the cleanout, or you need a permit, call the Storm Water Management Section at 602-256-3190.
Procedure for using the sanitary sewer cleanout:
- Locate the cleanout. If there are two, use the one closest to the home.
- Remove the cap and insert the drain hose a few inches into the pipe.
- Secure the drain hose so it won’t pop out. • Turn on the pump.
- Immediately check to make sure no water is backing up into the house. Drains in showers and tubs are the first places to check.
- If the water backs up, turn off the pump immediately. You may have a blockage or flow rate may be too high.
The maximum recommended discharge rate into the cleanout i s 12 gallons per minute. 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 (11 to 12 gallons per minute) is about the right size.
*City Code Section 23-33 and Section 32C ‘Storm Water Quality Protection’ prohibit discharging or allowing water to escape into a city street, other right of way, storm drain or other city property. A violation of these sections constitutes a class 1 misdemeanor and may result in a fine of up to $2,500, imprisonment of up to six months, probation not to exceed three years, or a combination of all three. Each incident or day of violation constitutes a separate offence