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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.
Public Swimming Pools
*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF) and Microsoft Word format (DOC). The free Adobe Reader or Microsoft Word Viewer may be required to view these files. All PDFs on this page open in new window.
COVID-19 PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL INFORMATION
If the pool is closed, see our best practices guidance Voluntary Pool Closures (pdf <1mb, opens in new window) for information on keeping the pool water safe and sanitary, and on how to drain the spa to keep it sanitary during extended periods.
The COVID-19 virus is deactivated quickly using Florida rule-compliant chlorine or bromine concentrations in pools and spas, and there is no evidence it can be spread by treated water per the World Health Organization and the CDC.
Per the CDC:
Can the COVID-19 virus spread through pools and hot tubs?
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 – Florida DOH Information and Guidance
For additional questions, contact the Department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 1 (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Email Inquiries may also be emailed to Florida DOH.
Renew your Public Pool Operating Permit online
TO INQUIRE ABOUT ADDITIONAL PERMIT RENEWAL OPTIONS, REQUEST A COPY, CHECK THE STATUS, OR CHANGE OWNER INFORMATION OF YOUR PUBLIC POOL OPERATING PERMIT; TO REPORT A POOL RELATED HEALTH OR SAFETY VIOLATION, REQUEST COPIES OF ROUTINE INSPECTION REPORTS; TO REQUEST A RE-INSPECTION FOR AN EXISTING PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL - PLEASE CONTACT THE LOCAL FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OFFICE IN THE COUNTY THE POOL IS LOCATED.
Public Swimming Pools Overview
To protect the public health the department has adopted sanitation and safety standards for public pools in Chapter 64E-9, Florida Administrative Code (opens in a new window), and enforces those rules through the issuance of operating permits and inspections. The revised 64E-9 Rule below is effective 7/20/16. Permitting and inspections are done by the Environmental Health Section of the Florida Department of Health in each county (opens in new window)
- Authority: Chapter 514, Florida Statutes
- Rule: Chapter 64E-9, FAC
- Public Swimming Pool and Bathing Place Advisory Review Board - Pool Variance Board Purpose, Membership, Agendas & Notices of Meetings
- FOR THE PUBLIC - inspections & fencing
- Chemical Safety
- FOR BUSINESS - where to send pool plans, health & safety criteria
- FOR BUSINESS - permits
- Public Pool Service Technicians
- Fecal Accidents
- FOR BUILDING CODE OFFICIALS - Checklists, Briefings - Updated 2021
- Entrapment protection
- Epsom Salt Float Tanks
- Virginia Graeme Baker Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act
- LIFEGUARD AND SWIMMING INSTRUCTOR TRAINING PROGRAMS
Chapter 64E-9 Florida Administrative Code, Public Pool rules (opens in a new window)
Notice of Next Meeting/Workshop Hearing
The next scheduled DOH Public Swimming Pool Advisory Variance Board meeting will be on September 8, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ~2:00 p.m., EST via conference call only.
Submission deadline: To be placed on the September 8, 2021’s agenda, Mr. August Ursin will need 8 hard copies of a completed variance application(s), on his desk, by COB Thursday, August 26, 2021.
NOTE: ANY APPLICATION RECEIVED AFTER THE DEADLINE AND “WALK-IN VARIANCE” APPLICATIONS WILL BE PLACED ON THE FOLLOWING VARIANCE MEETING’S AGENDA.
Information on how to attend the meeting and the meeting agenda will be emailed to you shortly after the submission deadline. Please provide all email contacts for the stakeholders that you would like CC-ed on emails regarding this variance request(s) to August Ursin.
The meetings are on the second Wednesday of odd months. The last 2021 variance Board meeting will be held on 11/10.
Download Variance Application DH 4080 (pdf <1mb, opens in new window)
In order to be placed on the next scheduled Variance Board meeting, you will need to submit to August Ursin (contact information below): 8 hard copies of the completed variance application, 8 copies of supporting documentation for the variance (PLEASE NOTE: when sending your variance application packets, each set of the eight (8) sets must be collated and complete, which includes the page 2 of the application), a check made out to the Florida Department of Health for $300.
Please also email an electronic copy of your completed application(s) to: E-mail: Mr. August Ursin Note: Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. August Ursin (opens in new window), or by writing to DOH, at one of the addresses above.
If you are speaking on behalf of the client who is purchasing the pool, a letter of owner authorization, with their contact information, including email address will be required before a variance will be issued. (if you are not the registered agent of the facility requesting a variance (It may be an attorney or a person listed in the Dept. of State’s SUNBIZ database as the corporation’s legal agent for signatures or the permittee/owner that will be issued the DOH’s annual operating permit. You must provide a signed letter of authorization, from the pool owner, to speak on their behalf at the variance meeting; this includes, but is not limited to pool contractors, design engineers, landscape architects, etc.).
ENSURE THE SECOND PAGE OF THE VARIANCE APPLICATION 4080 IS COMPLETED AND SIGNED BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF DOH BEFORE SENDING THE HARD COPIES.
If you are requesting a variance for more than one public pool, at the same property, even for identical issues, each separate water body must have a separate variance application with a separate $300 fee and 8 copies of the above-required Documents.
Below is the contact and mailing information for the variance board coordinator if you have any questions about the process.
August A Ursin
Environmental Health Program Consultant
Division of Disease Control and Health Protection
Bureau of Environmental Health, Water Programs
Florida Department of Health
E-mail: Mr. August Ursin Note: Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. August Ursin (opens in new window), or by writing to DOH, at one of the addresses above.
USPS Mailing Address: 4052 Bald Cypress Way Bin A08, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1710
FedEx/UPS Shipping Address: 4025 Esplanade Way, Floor 2, Room 220B, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1710
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Questions - Contact Mr. August Ursin, (850) 901-6517 or by writing to DOH, 4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A08, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1710 or via the email link below - Note:Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. August Ursin (opens in new window).
Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 3 days before the workshop/meeting by contacting August Ursin as listed above. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).
Membership: Section 514.028 of the Florida Statutes requires the Governor’s appointed advisory board shall be comprised of:
(a) A representative from the office of licensure and certification of the department. (Vacant)
(b) A representative from the county health departments. (Incumbent: Gerald D. Robinson, P.E., DOH-Polk County)
(c) Three representatives from the swimming pool construction industry. (Incumbents Jim LePetrie, P.E., Wet Engineering; Fred “Corky” Williams, National Pools; and Michael Kelly, Kelly Pools, Inc.)
(d) A representative from the public lodging industry. (Incumbent Jeff Kosik, Walt Disney World)
(e) A representative from a county or local building department. (Incumbent Alan C. Plante, CBO, Orange County Division of Building Safety)
To inquire to become a board member, please visit the Governor’s Appointment Office’s website (opens in new window)
Resources:Download a variance application (opens in new window, pdf<1mb)
Private pool fencing criteria to prevent drowning that is referenced in Chapter 515, Florida Statutes: CPSC Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools (pdf <1mb) (opens in new window)
Article 10/19/2018: Protecting Swimmers from Accidental Chlorine Gas Exposures, opens in new window - As pubished in the 'Water Quality & Health Council' website.
Where do I send my pool plans?
As of October 1, 2014, changes to Florida Statutes 514 and 553 require that an application for an operating permit must be submitted to the Department of Health before the Building Department can issue a construction or modification permit for a public pool. The new application form DH4159 and the Permitting Sequence is found in the next section below. The Building Department also cannot issue a Certificate of Completion or Occupancy until the Department of Health issues the operating permit.
We recommend you contact the Department at least a week before the planned opening. Program office staff is available in Tallahassee 850-901-6517; or Orlando 850-274-2928 / 850-274-3362 to answer any questions. View a map of where to send to your pool plans (pdf <1mb, opens in new window).
DOH Permit Application and Permitting Sequence (rtf, Word files open in a new window)
Public Swimming Pool Permit Process (pdf<1mb, opens in new window)
DH4159 Application For Swimming Pool Operating Permit (pdf<1mb, opens in new window)
DH4159 Application For Swimming Pool Operating Permit Instructions(pdf<1mb, opens in new window)
An individual who services a public pool by maintaining the cleanliness, water quality and chemical balance of public pools shall be certified. To be certified an individual must demonstrate knowledge of public pools. Examples of such knowledge include: pool cleaning, general pool maintenance, make-up water supply, bacteriological, chemical and physical quality of water and water purification, testing, treatment, and disinfection procedures. To ensure that the pool technicians are knowledgeable, said technician shall attend a training course of national recognition that is approved by the department of at least 16 hours in length and shall pass a test acceptable to the department.
These forms are available for download in a "fill-in" rich text format (rtf). If you are not familiar with problems that may arise using this type of form, please download the read_me (rtf) (<1mb and opens in new window) file.
All rtfs and pdfs and MS docs are <1mb and open in a new window
DH form 921 (rtf <1mb) Monthly Swimming Pool Report
DH form 1704 (rtf <1mb) Application for Swimming Pool Exempt Status >32 Units
DH form 4065 (rtf <1mb) Application for Swimming Pool Exempt Status 32 Units or Less
DH form 4080 (rtf <1mb) Application for Variance from Chapter 64E-9, F.A.C., Swimming Pools and Bathing Places
DH form 4080 (pdf <1mn) Application for Variance from Chapter 64E-9, F.A.C., Swimming Pools and Bathing Places- Fillable pdf version
Public Pool briefings & Statewide Public Pool List for Building Code Officials
**NEW - updated for 2021** Checklists for Public Swimming Pool Plan Review
All Word Docs open in a new window and are <1mb.
Section 514.0315, Florida Statutes (opens in a new window), 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. All new pools and spas are required to use a gravity drainage system that uses a collector tank. The law provides the owner or operator of a public pool or spa several options for pools and spas built before January 1, 1993.
All pdfs are < 1mb and open in a new window)
To protect the public health and safety, the Florida Department of Health is responsible for safety and water quality at public swimming pools.
In Section 514.011(2), Florida Statutes, a public swimming pool is: … defined as: a watertight structure … located either indoors or outdoors, used … by humans, .... Additionally, a ... public pool shall mean a conventional pool, spa-type pool, wading pool, special purpose pool, or water recreation attraction….
Epsom Salt Float Tank(s) fall under the jurisdiction and regulation responsibilities of the Florida Department of Health as Special Purpose pools.
Detailed criteria for public pool construction design, equipment requirements, pool operation, and water quality may be found in the Florida Building Code under Section 454 Swimming Pools And Bathing Places, 454.1 Public swimming pools and bathing places, and in Chapter 64E-9, Public Swimming Pools and Bathing Places, Florida Administrative Code.
The Department has, statewide, approved specific criteria and requirements, through the code variance process allowed by law, for Epsom Salt float tank manufacturers and specific site installations. The manufacturer of equipment which is not included on the statewide list must submit a Variance application and supporting engineering information to the Department for consideration by the Advisory Review Board.
A DOH permit to operate the float tank is required, and some require building department pool or electrical permits so confirm this with your city or county building department.
The following manufacturers have been granted specific code section variances for their float tank or float room for statewide use, and the variances include requirements for the float tank owners too:
Royal Spa Float Tank Final Order Granting Petition for Permanent Variance 7-27-2015 (pdf<1mb, opens in new window)
Royal Spa Corp Float Tank Statewide Variance 3488 12-21-2020-signed (pdf<1mb, opens in new window)
3385 Superior Float Tanks (Statewide Variance) (pdf<1mb, opens in new window)
Individuals purchasing float tanks that do not have a statewide variance must acquire a variance for their specific tank. See the 2020 Float Tank Criteria (pdf<1mb, opens in new window) for detailed requirements and common provisos.
To ensure compliance with both state codes, facility owners may need engineering assistance from the device manufacturer for installation and approval of an Epsom Salt Special Purpose pool.
See attachment for info you will need to request a site variance for a new float tank, if you do not use an approved brand.
A law to prevent entrapment drowning and injury at all public pools in the United States that took effect on December 19, 2008 and requires retrofit actions.
All pdfs open in a new window and are <1mb.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Pool Safety website (opens in new window)
Any individual or organization that wishes to provide a Lifeguard or Swimming Instructor training and certification course in the State of Florida must use a “Nationally Recognized Aquatic Training Program” or equivalent as defined in 64E-9.008(2)(a)2 of the Florida Administrative Code.
For information on submitting your Lifeguard or Swimming Instructor training and certification program for verification of equivalence to “Nationally Recognized Aquatic Training Program” standards please contact Mr. August Ursin, Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Health, 4052 Bald Cypress Way, Mail Bin A08, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1710, (850) 901-6517,
Please note: Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state officials regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.
CDC Healthy Swimming website - This Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website provides information on recreational water illnesses and what the public, health professionals and pool facility operators can do to prevent their transmission: CDC Healthy Swimming website (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming) (opens in new window)
USEPA Ultraviolet Disinfectant Guidance Manual 11/2006, publication # EPA 815-R-06-007
ANSI Certified Lab’s Product Listing websites for NSF/ANSI Standard 60 Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals- Health Effects.
NSF International (opens in new window)
Water Quality Association (opens in new window)
UL LLC (Underwriters Laboratories) (opens in new window)
ANSI Certified Lab’s Product Listing websites for NSF/ANSI Standard 50 Swimming Pool Products
NSF International (opens in new window)
IAPMO R&T (opens in new window)
2018 US CDC report opens in new window on disease outbreaks associated with treated recreational water nationally for the period 2000-2014
At what temperature should I operate my pool or spa?
To prevent heat stroke, the State of Florida requires that swimming pools (or spa pools) with heaters operate at a maximum temperature of 104° F. Spa pool rules must also state that the maximum use is 15 minutes. A clock must be visible from the spa pool. There are no other temperature requirements.
The Department of Health does not have a recommended temperature range, as the "ideal" temperature depends upon many factors. These include the activity, age of the patrons, the difference in temperature between the water and surrounding air, and personal preference. It is considered something best worked out between the pool patrons and management.
Does the state have a rule against children in diapers going in public swimming pools?
Florida has no specific rule against children in diapers entering public swimming pools. The use of swim diapers is recommended for children who are not toilet trained.
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.
How do I change the ownership records for a public swimming pool or spa?
Download a copy of form DH4159 (pdf<1mb, opens in new window). You only need to fill out sections 1 and 2, then note any additional changes in the Remarks Section. Send the signed and dated form to the Department of Health office in the county that the pool is located in. This must be done within 30 days of the ownership change or a fee will be assessed. View County Health Department contact information.
What determines when public swimming pools can remain open?
Pool owners choose when their pools can be used. There are no required hours that a public swimming pool must be open. However, it cannot be open at night unless the pool and pool deck have proper lighting for the safety of patrons. The lighting above and below water must be approved by the local building department after a professional conducts a field test. 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.