skip to content, health centers and clinics, search, accessibility statement

Recreational Health

Physical Parameters & Structural Maintenance

The following information pertains to requirements for public pools and spas.

"Public" means the pool or spa is used by people other than the owners or private guests, such as a community center lap pool, a recreational water park, a school pool, or a spa at a hotel or apartment complex.

Equipment Room

All components and equipment must be engineered to NSF/ANSI 50 standards and operate according to manufacturer specifications.

Chemical Feeders

Equipment providing continuous, metered dosing of disinfectant chemicals is required. Interlock features are required on all chemical feeders to prevent overdosing.

Common systems include peristaltic pumps, erosion feeders and on-site chlorine generators, including in-line salt and brine generators.

Do not install a new chemical feeder without approval. A new feeder, or a replacement different than the existing make and model, requires plan review.

Broadcasting or dosing chemicals by hand is not recommended and may only be performed when the pool is closed.

Chemical Controllers

Sensory equipment that continuously measures and adjusts chemical disinfectant and pH levels is required for all public pools and spas built or remodeled after September 2012.

Chemical controllers vary in design and complexity and require routine maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer.

Installing a chemical controller requires plan review. Do not install without approval.

Interlocks and Flow Sensors

All chemical control and feed systems for each venue or portion of a venue shall be provided with an automatic means to be disabled in event of a low flow or no flow condition. This shall be accomplished through an electrical interlock consisting of at least two of the following:

  1. Recirculation pump power monitor
  2. Flow meter/flow switch in the return line,
  3. Flow meter/flow switch at the chemical controller

The electrical interlock system shall be installed per manufacturer’s instructions and shall never be altered.

Installation of electronic components such as flow switches and sensors may require approval from your local building inspection department.

Supplemental Feeders

Do not install supplemental chemical feeders, such as ultraviolet light (UV) or ozone systems, without approval. They require plan review and approval.

Spray Parks – Ultraviolet Requirement

Splash or spray parks built or remodeled after September 2012 require ultraviolet light (UV) supplemental disinfectant systems in addition to chemical feeders.

Supplemental Feeders

Do not install supplemental chemical feeders, such as ultraviolet light (UV) or ozone systems, without approval. They require plan review and approval.

Flow Meters

The installation of a flow meter does not require plan review. Refer to the manufacturer for installation instructions.


Do not install or substitute a new pump unless it is the same make and model as the existing pump. A different pump requires plan review. Do not install without approval.

The law requires a turnover rate (the time required to cycle all the water in the pool once) of six hours. Variable-speed pumps must be able to sustain this requirement.

A variable-speed pump without a built-in safety vacuum release system may require the addition of this safety feature.

Electrical bonding and grounding is required, and must be approved by your local building inspection department.


Filters and filter media must meet NSF/ANSI 50 standards. Installing a new filter system, or replacing the existing one with different equipment, requires plan review and approval.


Pool drains and other intake openings must be equipped with covers or grates to prevent accidental entrapment and drowning.

Secondary safety features such as a safety vacuum release system may be required, depending on the cover size or drain configuration of the pool.

Any drain modification or splitting of pipes requires plan review and approval.

Suction Outlet Fittings and SRVS

A California Department of Public Health Compliance (AB 1020) Form must be submitted within 30 days whenever suction outlet fittings for main drains or skimmer equalizer line covers or safety vacuum release systems (SRVS) are added or replaced.

Forms must be completed and signed by qualified, state-licensed contractors or engineers and accurately identify the replacement or added product.

"Unblockable" drain covers may now require a secondary safety device such as SRVS when placed over a drain suction outlet or sump of smaller dimension.

Note that in the past, several products have been the subject of manufacturers' recalls. Immediately contact the manufacturer for replacement or retrofitting options if your pool has a faulty product.

Sewer Hookup

Water from backwashing and cleaning cartridges must not be discharged into the storm-water system unless sufficiently treated to standards specified by the local sanitary district.

The plumbing between the backwash line and the sanitary sewer must be separated by an air gap, providing indirect connection.


Fences and gates are required.

Fence pickets, posts and bases must be secure and unbroken. Vertical gaps must block the passage of a 4-inch ball. Chain link fence openings, measured diagonally, must not exceed 1 ¾ inches.

Footholds, handholds or elements that enable climbing the fence are not allowed.

Gates must open outward (away from the pool) and be equipped with self-closing and self-latching mechanisms.

Deck and Coping

The area providing direct access to the water must be clean, free of tripping hazards and free of obstructions around the perimeter and exit areas.

Decks must be built from slip-resistant material, slope away from the water and have appropriate drainage.

Coping, the edge capping the pool wall, must also be made from slip-resistant material. If used, tiling must be secure and free of gaps.

Renovations or alterations modifying the original design of the deck or coping may require plan review and approval.

Pool Shell

The pool shell must be intact and in good repair. Resurfacing requires plan review. Do not resurface without approval.

Depth Markers and Marking Line

Depth markers must be properly located and in good repair. Tile markers installed on a deck must be made from slip-resistant material.

A depth marking line is required in pools with a "deep end," showing where the slope in the floor of the pool declines steeply.

The marking line should be a continuous, slip-resistant and permanent tile material of contrasting color from the shell.

Skimmers and Overflow Channels

Skimmers must be debris-free, and water levels must be maintained near skimmer openings to reduce flow restriction. All skimmer components must be complete and undamaged.

Overflow channels also must be complete and undamaged, including cover grates on the deck.

Return inlet fittings must be in place and intact, and adjusted to ensure uniform water circulation and residual disinfectant throughout the pool.

Pool Covers

Pool blankets or covers must be removed when the pool is open and must meet all safety requirements .

Installing a new blanket or cover, or replacing one with a different model, may require plan review and approval.

Diving Boards

Diving boards and starting blocks must be in good repair, including surfaces and finish. Loose bolts must be tightened immediately, and broken equipment must be removed.

Starting blocks must be removed if possible when not in use for competitive swimming or training. Built-in starting blocks must be covered with manufacturer-provided platform covers or another means clearly indicating that use is prohibited.

Handrails and Ladders

Handrails, grab-rails and ladders must be immovable and meet state specifications.

Electrical bonding and grounding of the pump is required to replace or install them, requiring approval from the local building inspection department.

Adding or replacing these elements with different equipment also requires plan review. Do not proceed without approval.


Underwater lighting must illuminate the entire pool, including the bottom, at night. Underwater lighting must have intact lenses and be free from water intrusion.

Deck lighting must illuminate passage areas at night.

All lighting must work properly. Repair defects immediately. All lighting must have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

Electrical Systems

Electrical problems must be repaired immediately by a licensed contractor.

Approval from the local building inspection department is required when installing or replacing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) or any electrical component not identical to the original unit.

All electrical components must be grounded and bonded. Approval from the local building authority is required before installing or replacing:

  • Handrails, grab rails or ladders
  • Motorized pumps or air blowers
  • GFCIs, electrical outlets and switches
  • Underwater or overhead lights
  • Diving boards or starting blocks
  • Heaters
  • Electrical chemical feeders, controllers and flow switch sensors

Spa Emergency Shut-Off Switches

Spas have safety switches that turn off the hydro jet, blower and filtration pumps simultaneously. The switch must be adjacent to the spa and marked with an "Emergency Off Switch" sign.

Safety Signs and Equipment

Public pools must have at least one 18-inch life preserver (life ring) with a rope attachment long enough to cross the pool at its widest point, and a non-telescopic rescue pole, at least 12 feet long, with a fixed shepherd's hook.

Safety signs must be posted and meet state requirements.

Adjoining Facilities

Restrooms and showers adjoining the pool must be clean and adequately supplied.

Handwashing sinks require a hand dryer or paper towel dispenser, liquid or granular soap in a dispenser (not bar soap) and a trash receptacle.

Showers for washing must have single-use soap (liquid or granular, not bar soap). Rinse-off showers must be clean and have NO soap.

Diaper-changing stations must be disinfected regularly and be free of visible contamination. Drinking fountains must be clean and work properly.