Swimming Pools

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Water from swimming pools and spas (hot tubs) contains organic matter, has low pH levels, and contains high levels of chlorine, bromine, and copper. Discharging chlorinated or untreated pool/spa water into the storm sewer system is harmful to fish and other aquatic life because this water does not  and is prohibited under Rochester City ordinances 76.03.

So what do you do when you need to discharge your pool or spa? Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

  • Can pool or spa water be discharged to the storm sewer system?
    Yes, only if the water has been de-chlorinated (less than 0.1 mg/L), has a pH range of 7-8, consists only of water, and is discharged in a way that does not cause nuisance conditions or erosion problems.

  • How can I get rid of chlorine?
    Chlorine will naturally dissipate and pool water will become de-chlorinated over time.  De-chlorinating chemicals from pool suppliers can also be used to rid the pool of chlorine.

  • How do I tell the pH and chlorine levels of the water?
    Chlorine and pH test kits are available to test concentration levels in pools.

  • Can pool or spa water be discharged to the sanitary sewer system? Residual chlorine is typically not a problem for the Rochester Water Reclamation Plant. Residential and small pool and spa owners may discharge to the sanitary sewer. Owners of large pools must obtain permission from the Rochester Water Reclamation Plant (281-6190) before discharging from large pools to the sanitary sewer.

  • Can I discharge my pool or spa water in my yard?
    Yes so long as tests show that the water is de-chlorinated, has a pH of 7-8, and is free of all other debris. The water should be directed over a vegetated surface so that it can soak into the ground. It should not flow onto any other person’s property or create nuisance conditions such as erosion or prolonged ponding. 

  • What do I do with filter and backwash waste?
    Waste from pool filters and backwash systems are not allowed in the storm sewer system. Backwash water needs to be disposed of in the sanitary sewer and pool filters disposed of as solid waste.