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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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Public and Community Swimming Places

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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 living unit members and their guests which does not serve any type of cooperative housing or joint tenancy of five or more living units are NOT required to be permitted by the Florida Department of Health. Most other pools are required to have an annual operating permit. Some pools which serve condominiums and/or cooperatives and some homeowners' associations and other property associations may qualify for an exemption from supervision by the Department of Health. (See Florida Statute 514 for a complete description of those pools which may qualify for exemptions from supervision or regulation.)

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?

YesA building permit is required and numerous items must be addressed at the time of resurfacing. PRIOR to resurfacing, a completed “State of Florida Department of Health Notice of Resurfacing of Public Swimming Pool” form is submitted to the local health department. https://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/swimming-pools/_documents/doh-notice-resurf-public-sw-pool-form.pdf This is required BEFORE the Building Department can issue the necessary building permit(s) for the resurfacing of a public pool.  If suction outlet drain covers, sumps or other anti-entrapment safety features are replaced, form DH 4157 is also required. https://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/swimming-pools/_documents/dh4157.pdf  The Building Department cannot issue a Certificate of Completion or Occupancy until the Department of Health completes a Satisfactory inspection.

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

Yes – 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.

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 as defined in Florida Statute 413.08(1)(d) http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0413/Sections/0413.08.html are allowed onto the pool deck, but ​not into the pool. A service animal is not a pet. 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 we want to allow our pool to be open after dark?

Pool owners choose when their pools can be used. However, it cannot be open at night unless the pool and pool deck have proper lighting for the safety of patrons.  Submit a completed “State of Florida Department of Health Environmental Engineering Lighting Certification Swimming Pools and Bathing Places” form  https://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/swimming-pools/_documents/publicpoollightingform.pdf to the local health department. This form must be completed by a Licensed Professional (Engineer, Building Official, Lighting or Commercial Pool Contractor). Then, "night swimming approved" will be noted on the pool permit. State code defines night as 30 minutes before sunset to 30 minutes after sunrise. Pool hours must be posted on the rules sign.

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

The Florida Department of Health provides this guidance from the CDC: Healthy Swimming: Fecal Incident Response Recommendations for Aquatic Staff https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/pdf/fecal-incident-response-guidelines.pdf This document provides guidance for determining steps to follow before re-opening the pool after an accident as well as guidance on establishing a water contamination response log. 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?

Section 514.0315, Florida Statutes, requires all public swimming pools and spas to be equipped with an anti-entrapment system or device that complies with American Society of Mechanical Engineers/American National Standards Institute standard A112.19.8, or any successor standard. 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. These forms may be used to document testing  https://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/swimming-pools/_documents/ChecklistSafetyVacuum.pdf or https://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/swimming-pools/_documents/ChecklistSuctionLimiting.pdf

Main drain grates must be replaced when damaged or according to the manufacturer’s designated replacement timeframe. This form may be used to document 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