Illegal Dumping

properly & Legally Drain a Swimming Pool or Spa

Do You Know Where the Water Goes? The "Don't Dump!" signs are placed next to storm drains to remind everyone thadrains-to-the-ocean-no-dumping-signt gutters and storm drains carry rainwater as well as any pollutants directly to arroyos, creeks and the ocean without any treatment.

Improperly disposed of pool water, filter materials and chemicals can enter the watershed and cause damage to plants, animals, and water quality. Be aware that whoever drains or maintains a pool or spa is responsible for preventing chemicals from entering the watershed. Most cities levy significant fines for infractions.

If you are using a pool service professional or contractor, do not assume they are aware of these rules. It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure their contractor abides by the law.


The recommended method is to discharge the water to the sanitary sewer system, via a sewer cleanout or other sewer connection.

  • Do not add chlorine or other chemicals to the pool for a week before draining.
  • Maintain an "air gap" between the discharge line and the sewer line. Do not seal the connection between the hose and sewer line.
  • Use a pump with no more than 1.5 horsepower. Check to make sure no water is backing up into the house. Drains for showers and tubs are the first places to check.

Discharging pool or spa water to the storm drain system is allowed under very strict conditions and is not a preferred method.

  • Contact the City at least 72 hours before discharging, at 805-986-6661.
  • The water must be dechlorinated to a maximum of 0.1 parts per million and must be tested.
  • The water must be pH adjusted and be within the range of 7 and 8 standard units.
  • All solids and floating debris must be removed first. If the pool contains algae or mosquito larvae, it must be treated prior.
  • The water must not contain any detergents, wastes, salts, algaecides, cyanuric acid in excess of 50 parts per million or any other chemicals.
  • Make certain that the water draining from your pool or spa will not pick up dirt, lawn clippings or other debris and pollutants as it makes its way to the storm drain.
  • The water must not cause a public nuisance or safety hazard while draining.


If you witness someone draining their pool or spa to the street, please call 805-986-6561 during normal business hours.

To report after hours or on weekends/holidays, please call Police Dispatch at 805-986-6538.