Public Swimming Pools

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Swimming Pool Resources:  

The construction and operation of public swimming pools in North Carolina must comply with the Rules Governing Public Swimming Pools, 15A NCAC 18A .2500. For the protection of public health and safety, Environmental Health Specialists in this program conduct plan review, inspections and complaint investigations and issue operation permits for the more than 300 public swimming pools in Brunswick County.  An application for a public swimming pool permit must be submitted annually.

Public swimming pools may not operate without a valid permit from the local health department.  There are two types of public swimming pool permits:

  1. Seasonal Pool Permits:  Valid only between April 1 – October 31
  2. Year-Round Pool Permits:  Valid for one year from the date permit is issued

Seasonal pools are inspected at least once a year and year-round pools are inspected at least twice a year.  All public swimming pools are required to maintain a certified pool operator (CPO) who monitors and documents compliance with key safety and sanitation issues on a daily basis


Construction and Renovation Requirements for Public Swimming Pools

In NC, plans must be submitted to the local health department for review and approval prior to beginning construction of a new public swimming pool or remodeling of an existing pool.  Remodeled means renovated in a manner requiring disruption of the majority of the pool shell or deck, changes in the pool profile, or redesign of the pool hydraulic system.  Public swimming pool plans must be prepared by a registered design professional.

Plans submitted for constructing or remodeling public swimming pools must include:

  1. Plan and sectional view dimensions of both the pool and the area enclosed by the barrier fences to include the bathhouse, equipment room and pool accessories;
  2. Specifications of all treatment equipment used and their layout in the equipment room;
  3. A piping schematic showing piping, pipe size, inlets, main drains, skimmers, gutter outlets, vacuum fittings and all other appurtenances connected to the pool-piping system;
  4. Layout of the chemical storage room; and
  5. Specifications for the water supply and wastewater disposal systems that include aspects such as well location and backwash water disposal where applicable.

Once a complete set of plans, plan review application and plan review fee have been received by our office the plan will be approved or disapproved with written comments within 30 days.  If construction is not initiated within one year from the date of approval, the approval is void.  Public swimming pools must be constructed by swimming pool contractors licensed by the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors.  The General Contractor’s license must include the Swimming Pool Classification.

DURING CONSTRUCTION:  The swimming pool contractor must contact our office when pool pipes are in place and visible so that an Environmental Health Specialist can conduct an open-pipe inspection.

WHEN CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETE:  Prior to issuance of the operation permit, the owner must submit a statement signed by a registered design professional stating that construction is complete and in accordance with approved plans and specifications. Observation of construction and a final inspection for design compliance by the certifying registered design professional or his representative are required for this statement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Public Swimming Pool?

A public swimming pool is defined as any structure, chamber, or tank containing an artificial body of water used by the public for swimming, diving, wading, recreation, or therapy, together with buildings, appurtenances, and equipment used in connection with the body of water, regardless of whether a fee is charged for its use. The term includes municipal, school, hotel, motel, apartment, boarding house, athletic club, or other membership facility pools and spas, and artificial swimming lagoons.

Public swimming pools do not include private pools serving a single family dwelling and used only by the residents of the dwelling and their guests, therapeutic pools used in physical therapy programs operated by medical facilities licensed by the Department or operated by a licensed physical therapist, or therapeutic chambers drained, cleaned, and refilled after each individual use.


What type of training is required for public pool operators?

The requirements for pool operator training are contained in 15A NCAC 18A Section .2537(c).  This regulation states:

“The owner of a public swimming pool shall provide for the operation of the pool by a person or persons who shall be responsible to the owner for operation, maintenance, pool safety and recordkeeping. The pool owner shall maintain documentation that the person responsible for operating the pool has been trained on pool equipment operation, disease and injury prevention, pool water chemistry and regulatory requirements for public swimming pools. A pool and spa operator certificate issued by the National Swimming Pool Foundation or other organization which provides training on those subjects shall be accepted as meeting this requirement.”


What is an artificial swimming lagoon?

An artificial swimming lagoon means any body of water used for recreational purposes with more than 20,000 square feet of surface area, an artificial liner, and a method of disinfectant that results in a disinfectant residual in the swimming zone that is protective of the public health.




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