New construction in California - Returns at the bottom of the pool


Aug 21, 2019
Bakersfield, CA
They just finished digging the hole for the pool. Looks massive.

They started the trenching for the plumbing and electricity. I don't see any returns at the bottom of the pool.

My old pool built back in 2006 had returns at the bottom that could be used to clean the deep end, drain the pool as well, but I don't see them in this pool.

Are they no longer used? or are they trying to avoid digging that trench?


Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
Was it a part of the specification when you had the quote done for your pool project with the PB? Not all pools have bottom returns, its usually a feature you have to request.


Active member
Oct 11, 2017
Blue Springs
Your main drains may be tied to your skimmer, mine are on a separate line that connects back at the equipment pad, assume you have a PB and you have a contract, what does it say about the main drains?


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Returns at the bottom of the pool are usually some type of In-Floor Cleaning System that include valves and equipment on the pad.

A main drain is different. Pools don’t need a main drain on the bottom. A main drain helps prevent a pump running dry if your skimmers get clogged.

A pool can be designed with an IFCS or main drain or both or none. There is no standard.


Aug 21, 2019
Bakersfield, CA
Thank you all. No, there was no bottom return/drain on the plans or in the quote. I spoke with the team out there today and they said they haven't built one with a bottom return in 15 years.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
A main drain is not needed. Just get a low priced sump pump from Harbor Freight or Amazon and have it on hand for those times you need to drain water from the pool.

Do ask them if they put a port in the side of the pool a couple feet below the skimmer so your pump will not run dry if the water level drops below the skimmer.
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Gold Supporter
May 24, 2019
Fresno, CA
I'm just up the 99 in Fresno, and there was nothing in ours at all until they actually started laying the pipe. They said it was required to have two main drains, I'm not sure if it's different in Bakersfield or not. All of our returns are on the sides.

The way my builder did it was to dig the deep end a little deeper, attached the two main drains from the skimmer, then they piled dirt back on top of it. You can see pics in my build thread to compare. I've got daily shots of most of the progress. They only trenched at the surface for mine, the work on the pool side was done by the plumber after the excavation was complete.