Do You Need a Permit to Remove a Pool?

Written by Michael Dean
August 8, 2023

pool permit next to construction equipment removing a pool

Removing a swimming pool is a hefty undertaking, and getting the proper permits to remove your pool is certainly part of the process. Whether you’re building a new pool in its place, moving the pool location to a new area, or going pool-less, you’ll need to do some permit research beforehand.

In this article, I will discuss whether or not you need a permit to get rid of your pool. I will also go over the pool removal process and give you some tips for removing your pool efficiently. Let’s dive in!

Main Takeaways 

  • Permits are required to ensure safe, non-hazardous removal of the pool structure.
  • Hiring an expert to remove your pool will ensure there is minimal damage to your property and utilities. It will also save you tons of time and effort.
  • It can take up to 1 to 2 weeks for pool removal to be completed, depending on the type of pool and the removal method.

Do You Need a Permit to Remove a Pool?

You definitely need a permit to remove your inground pool. Most large above ground pools will also require pool removal permits. Permits for pool removal are necessary in nearly every state across the United States. That said, the process and information needed for the permit application process naturally vary depending on your local municipality, the size and type of the pool, and the ecological area surrounding the pool.

Why Are Permits Needed for Pool Removal?

The short answer is that permits are legally mandated to ensure the safe, non-hazardous removal of the pool structure. Pool structures, especially concrete inground pools, require a lot of heavy machinery and labor to remove, so a permit is necessary to ensure it is done correctly.

The long answer is that the government controls and regulates large construction processes. If a pool is simply removed without legal oversight or approval, there is a significant risk of harm to the environment and the surrounding landscape’s structural integrity. An improperly removed pool can pose future drainage pattern issues, hazardous rubble disposal, subsequent legal backlash, and other serious concerns. This is not to mention the potential harm that can come to you if you hazardously get rid of the pool and misuse heavy machinery.

Removing a pool isn’t a simple job; it requires major excavation and demolition work. So the permit is essentially to comply with local building and zoning codes for your safety, the safety of your neighbors, and the environment.

Your property value might also be affected by an illegal pool removal; permits establish legitimate documentation of the process, safeguarding your investment. Plus, updating your property manager on the change might be necessary so your property taxes can be reduced.

And finally, if you do go ahead with the removal illegally, fines could easily mount up and prove to be prohibitively more expensive than simply applying for the permit in the first place.

How Much Does a Pool Removal Permit Cost?

The cost of your pool removal permit varies drastically depending on the project and your region. On average, you can expect to pay around $200 for a permit to remove your pool. But check with your local authority or contact a pool professional to get the exact estimate for the removal permit in your municipality.

How to Remove a Pool

The pool removal process can differ based on the pool type, the pool’s size, materials and equipment needed, disposal strategy, local regulations, etc. Here’s a general overview of the process:

  1. Apply and obtain the necessary permits for the removal.
  2. Drain the pool according to local regulations. Depending on your region, you might also need a permit to drain your pool.
  3. Have a licensed professional safely disconnect any utilities connected to the pool, such as water, electricity, or gas lines. This shouldn’t be done yourself unless you are licensed to do so.
  4. The next step is to demolish the pool structure. When it comes to above ground pool removal, this may simply involve dismantling and removing the components. For inground pools, especially concrete pools, this will involve heavy machinery such as an excavator and a jackhammer.
  5. For inground pools, there are two common methods of removal: partial pool removal or complete pool removal, with the latter being the most expensive.
  6. Following demolition, the debris needs to be safely excavated from the site and disposed of properly vis-a-vis local waste removal guidelines.
  7. In most cases of removal, backfill the area with a suitable material like sand, gravel, dirt, and topsoil. Proper compaction of the backfill is necessary to avoid settling and any tricky structural issues that could lead to drainage issues in your yard.
  8. Following complete removal, grade and level the ground to match the surrounding terrain.
  9. Furthermore, you can do some landscaping and yard restoration to restore the area’s vegetation and ecological aesthetic—a few bushes and trees, for instance, can help stabilize the area. If you are not well-versed in landscaping work, I advise hiring a professional landscaper for this step.

My advice during the whole process? Keep detailed records of all the work done, permits obtained, and any inspection reports. Doing so will be helpful for property records or potential future property transactions.

Should I Hire a Contractor to Remove My Pool?

Whether or not to hire a contractor to remove your pool depends on several factors, including your experience, expertise, local regulations, and your specific pool type. For example, removing an above ground pool on your own is challenging but possible. Removing an inground pool, however? That requires some serious heavy lifting and can be a physically demanding and time-consuming process that’ll leave you worn out.

Hiring a contractor vs. DIY removing your pool has several pros and cons.

DIY is Cheaper

If you are on a tight budget and confident in your abilities, DIY might be a good option. But again, I HIGHLY recommend hiring a professional for the job, as removing an inground pool is a complicated process. Honestly, if you have the money to pay a professional, this is definitely a worthwhile expense.

If Heavy Machiner Is Involved, Hire a Pro

A professional contractor is the best person for the job if you need heavy machinery and engineering knowledge.

Contractors Will Keep Everything Legal

A contractor will be familiar with current zoning and building regulations, guaranteeing a safe and legally compliant pool removal. They will also be able to apply for the pool removal permit on your behalf, saving you a lot of time and effort.

Pool Professionals Will Clean Up the Mess

One of the most frustrating parts of removing a pool is the clean-up and disposal of the debris. A contractor won’t just remove your pool and then call it a day. They will also deal with the messy aftermath of the removal, such as the debris material and leftover equipment. Pool pros will safely and legally remove all traces of your pool and, in some cases, will even handle the landscaping, leaving your yard looking better than ever!

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t consider removing a pool unless you are confident in your demolition skills or have previously removed a pool. Leave this time-consuming dirty work to the professionals!

How Much Will It Cost to Remove a Pool?

There really isn’t any loophole here. Pool removals are expensive. Prices can differ depending on your situation. But generally, you’ll find that most above ground pool removals cost much less, both in terms of time and money. On average, above ground pool removal will cost between $500 to $3,000. It’s also possible to partially recoup the costs by selling off your leftover pool equipment (heater, liner, pump) and the pool structure, which should be mostly undamaged in the removal process.

Inground pool removal is a different beast. It can cost between $4,000 and $22,000, depending on whether you opt for partial or complete removal. Inground pool removal is a big decision, owing to how much labor is involved in excavating the debris. It’s also harder to recoup the costs of inground pool removal unless you find a scrapyard willing to take in a lot of concrete or fiberglass junk. However, you should still be able to sell (or at least donate) some of your old equipment, such as your heater and pump.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does removing a pool decrease home value?

Not necessarily. The property value can take a hit if the pool is less than 15 years old and really well-maintained or if the region you live in has more than six months of pool-friendly weather. It also depends on local real estate market conditions, buyer preferences, and the condition of the rest of your property. An old swimming pool can even drive away potential buyers. I recommend consulting a real estate appraiser to better understand the impact of removing a pool on your property.

How long does it take to remove a pool?

The amount of time it takes to remove a pool depends on the type of removal you’re opting for: inground, above ground, partial, or full. On average, however, I would suggest scheduling roughly a week for above ground pool removal and more than two weeks for inground pool removal. On the other hand, if you DIY remove your inground pool, this can take weeks or even months!

Remove Your Pool Legally

When the pool’s got to go, it’s got to go. But it has to go legally. Getting a permit is your best bet to ensure the removal is smooth and stress-free. Applying for a permit is boring paperwork, but it is a necessary step for safe and non-hazardous pool removal. Another important step when removing your pool is to hire an experienced pool removal contractor. A proper professional will also get the necessary permits on your behalf. Pool removal is a dicey business, and getting an expert on board is the best bet for your home.

For more info on permits you may need, check out my complete guide on pool permits.

If you have any questions about removing the pool or obtaining a permit, I’m here to help! Feel free to get in touch with any doubts or concerns.

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