Pool Backwash Regulations In Brisbane

Swimming Pool Backwash Regulations In Brisbane, QLD

Backwashing is an effective way to clean out canister-style filters that contain sand or DE as a filter medium. By running water through these filters in reverse, built up debris and crud can be removed.

It may be tempting to dump all of this down the sewer but, depending on what part of Brisbane you live in, your local council may have regulations put in place regarding this.

In this article, we will cover the backwashing regulations in Queensland for both the Brisbane City Council and Logan City Council areas.

Brisbane City Council Backwashing Regulations

If you are looking to drain some of your pool’s water into the sewerage network in Brisbane City, you will need to apply for express written approval from Urban Utilities.

Urban Utilities

This application process requires that you provide a copy of your home’s plumbing plans, the drainage design, and your draining schematics plan. Applications are free to submit.

If approved, your pool draining will be subject to the following conditions: the discharge must be done through the private property’s plumbing and drainage (no direct connections to the sewer system are allowed), and the discharge flow rate must be no more than one litre per second.

Alternative Options

For chlorinated freshwater pools, or those seeking to drain more than 5% of the volume of their saltwater pool, the council encourages that you explore other water disposal methods before applying for approval.

These include reusing pool water for domestic uses, such as toilet flushing, disposing of the water in a vegetated area in your yard, or allowing water to flow down a purpose-built water-infiltration cell.

In some cases, you may be allowed to drain your water into a nearby storm drainage system, as these lines do not typically connect to the sewerage system

However, releasing chemically-treated water into these storm drains can pose a significant threat to your local environment, so approval for this drainage method must also be requested from your local council.

Logan City Council Backwashing Regulations

In Logan, pool backwashing does not require express approval, but there are other regulations on this process.

Backwashing should occur for no longer than five minutes and may only be done once per day. The flow rate from the backwashing to the council’s sewerage network should be no greater than 6 litres per second.

You should avoid backwashing within six hours of a rain or related storm event in the area, even if the amount of rain received at your specific location was minimal.

Additionally, only backwash water is allowed to be discharged into the sewage network; pool overflow and draining for other purposes are not permitted without additional approval.

According to the Logan City Council, it is illegal to discharge your backwash into a storm drain if access to the sewerage network is available.

While municipal sewerage networks will eventually perform treatment on the wastewater collected, storm drain water is released into your local environment as-is, allowing pool chemicals to cause serious damage to the local ecosystem.

This is why draining into the stormwater system involves a different set of approvals and regulations.


If you live in the Brisbane area, draining backwash into the public sewer network must be pre-approved by Urban Utilities.

If you are in the jurisdiction of Logan City Council, backwashing to the public sewage system is allowed so long as you follow the guidelines set forth by the council.

Do you have any questions about swimming pool backwash regulations in Queensland? Get in touch with us in the comments section, we’d love to help!

Louis from Pool Advisor


A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.