Skip Global navigation and goto content

Public and Community Swimming Places

Contact Us

Pools and Spas

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. However, they are not risk-free. To maximize the health benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury, the Florida Health Department has adopted sanitation and safety standards for public swimming pools, wading pools, spa pools and water recreation attractions and enforces those rules through the issuance of operating permits and inspections.

Are any pools NOT required to have a Florida Department of Health permit?

“Private pools” which means a facility used only by an individual, family, or household members and their guests which does not serve any type of cooperative housing or joint tenancy of five or more living units are the only pools NOT required to be permitted by the Florida Department of Health. ALL other pools are required to have an annual operating permit. Some pools which serve condominiums and/or cooperatives may qualify for an exemption from supervision by the Department of Health. (See Florida Statute 514 for the qualifications for an exemption.)

What credentials are needed to service or repair my neighborhood pool?

To repair a licensed pool in Florida, the individual must be a Florida licensed pool contractor. A certified pool operator (CPO), pool permit holder or direct employee of the pool permit holder may adjust water chemistry and clean the pool or spa but is NOT qualified to do repairs and may NOT work on the pool equipment. Ask for proof of current credentials (license or certification) and/or check the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website for verification. Depending on the nature of the repair, construction or modification permits are often required by the Florida Department of Health and/or the local Building Department.

Do we have to notify the Health Department or Building Department when we are going to resurface the pool?

YesNumerous items must be addressed at the time of resurfacing. Florida Statutes 514 and 553 require that an application for an operating permit form DH4159 must be submitted to the Department of Health describing the proposed changes. Plans may or may not be required depending on the nature of the work. This is required BEFORE the Building Department can issue the necessary building permit(s) for a public pool.  The Permitting Sequence is found on the Florida Department of Health Public Swimming Pools website. The Building Department cannot issue a Certificate of Completion or Occupancy until the Department of Health completes a Satisfactory inspection and issues the operating permit.

Do we need a building permit to alter the pool or pool equipment?

Yes – same answer as for resurfacing. The only exception is if you are changing the method of disinfection. In this instance, a building permit is not required, however the pool owner or agent must notify the Florida Department of Health in writing at least 15 days prior to making the proposed change to allow the Health Department to verify that the replacement equipment is suitable for use in the designated pool regarding capacity, location and NSF certification. Contact the Health Department BEFORE making any changes. Adding or removing an electrolytic chlorine or bromine generator (salt system) always requires a building permit.

Can service dogs go into public swimming pools or the pool area?

Service animals are allowed onto the pool deck, but ​not into the pool. While service dogs are generally allowed to accompany their owners​ anywhere the public would normally be allowed to go, they may be excluded under certain conditions, such as a threat to the health and safety of others. ​The Department of Health considers any animal in a public pool a public health threat. Additional information can be found in the “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA” brochure located on the Department of Justice website.

What should we do if there is a fecal accident in the pool?

The Florida Department of Health provides this guidance from the CDC: Tips on Preventing Fecal Accidents and Response Procedures in the Event of a Fecal Accident. This document provides guidance for determining steps to follow before re-opening the pool after an accident. Remember that the pool cannot be re-opened until the chemistry has been returned to the required limits.

Why must we keep a log of the Chlorine and pH daily? Who can do that?

By law, it is the pool owner’s responsibility to keep daily pool information on the operating conditions of the pool, spa and/or water feature. Chlorine (or bromine) and pH are required to be measured at least once every 24 hours using an approved test kit. Stabilizer (Cyanuric acid) is required to be measured at least weekly. For most pools, the required chlorine level is between 1.0-10.0 ppm. For most spas, the required chlorine level is between 2.0-10.0 ppm. The pH is required to be between 7.2-7.8 for all pools and spas. Cyanuric acid may not exceed 40 ppm in a spa or 100 ppm in a pool. Exact requirements are specified in 64E-9 Florida Administrative Code. If the chemistry is not within the required limits, the pool or spa shall be closed.

This testing can be done by anyone who has been trained in the testing procedures. No formal certification is required for this testing. Every permitted pool is required to have a test kit which must be able to test free active chlorine and total chlorine using N, N-Diethyl-p-Phenylenediamine (DPD), or bromine level, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and pH. Your pool inspector can demonstrate the proper method of testing and explain the required chemical levels for your pool or spa.

The pool report sheet must be available for review at the inspection. This sample log sheet is provided for your convenience.

Is any other routine testing required?

If the pool or spa is DIRECT SUCTION and the pool or spa has a suction-limiting vent, this is required to be tested and results submitted to the Florida Department of Health each permit year or the permit will not be renewed. If the pool or spa is DIRECT SUCTION and it has any other type of anti-entrapment device, documentation of required testing of the anti-entrapment device(s) is required according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and documentation of testing may be recorded on the pool log sheet. This form may be used to document testing and/or whenever the main drain grate is replaced.

Where can I find an inspection report for a public/community pool?

Most public pools, spas and interactive water features are inspected twice each year. View the most recent inspection results for your public pool.

Where can I find more information, including the laws governing pools in Florida?

Florida Department of Health Public Swimming Pools

Florida Statutes Chapter 514, Public Swimming and Bathing Facilities

Florida Administrative Code Chapter 64E-9, Public Swimming Pools & Bathing Places

Florida Statutes Chapter 553 (Florida Building Code)

Florida Statutes Chapter 454 (Florida Building Code)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Swimming/Recreation Water

National Swimming Pool Foundation