Tips for Pools, Spas, Fountain Owners

Tips for pool owners

The City of Los Angeles allows for the periodic draining of residential/private swimming pools, spas and decorative fountains into storm drains and sanitary sewer system, provided that certain good housekeeping practices are followed:

Discharge to the storm drain – Requirements for residential/private pools

Residential pools are exempt from wastewater permitting requirements. Discharges are allowed after the implementation of specified Best Management Practices (or BMPs), as follows:
  • De-chlorinate or de-brominate swimming pools, spas or decorative fountains by allowing the water to sit for a few days without adding chlorine or adding a de-chlorinizing agent (e.g. sodium thiosulfate) prior to discharging it to the gutter. Chlorine residue in the discharged water shall not exceed 0.1 mg/L and discharged water is to be pH adjusted, if necessary, and be within the range of 6.5-8.5 standard units.
  • Swimming pool water shall not contain any detergents, wastes, or algaecides, or any other chemicals including salts from pools commonly referred to as “salt water pools” in excess of applicable water quality objectives.
  • When discharging to a storm drain, examine the downstream catch basin for cleanliness prior to releasing the water. Clogged catch basins may cause the discharged water to flood surface streets. Call (800) 974-9794 to report a clogged catch basin.
  • Discharges to the storm drain system are allowed between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • The City of Los Angeles requires 72-hour advance notification for discharges at or above 100,000 gallons. For such discharges please notify:

Discharge to the sanitary sewer system - Requirements for non-residential pools

Non-residential owners of pools are required to obtain a wastewater permit if they generate wastewater from pools/spas/fountains/pond draining, pool deck draining or filter backwash processes.

Typical facilities required to obtain a wastewater permit for the discharge of wastewater include, but are not limited to: recreation centers, schools, health clubs, hospitals, and hotels.

The following agencies are responsible for granting permits for connections and discharges to the storm drain system and sanitary sewer system:

Discharges to Sanitary Sewer System

Industrial Waste Management Division
(323) 342-6200

Sewer or Storm Drain Connection Permit

To install a connection to the sanitary sewer system or storm drain system, contact your local Department of Building and Safety, Development Services Center.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit

This permit is required for non-stormwater discharges to the storm drain system that are not “Exempted” or “Conditionally Exempted.”

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board
320 W. 4th Street, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 576-6600

The complete Discharge Requirements for Pools, Spas and Fountain Owners Fact Sheet is available in the downloads section.