Public Swimming Pool Program
12. Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 8, 2020:
View full ammended orders here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-executive-order-to-expand-openings-of-certain-businesses-and-activities
The maximum user load for pools is calculated as follows:
Less than 5’ depth – 1 user for every 15 sq. ft. of surface area
Greater than 5’ depth – 1 user for every 25 sq. ft. of surface area
Example: if the pool is less than 5’ deep and measures 25’ x 45’ = 1125 sq. ft. / 15 = 75 x .25 = 18.75 or 19 swimmers
Note: This number may vary from the fire safety occupancy load for indoor pools.
CDC: Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19
The Williamson County and Cities Health District is establishing a public and semi-public swimming pool permitting and inspection program in January 2020 to increase public health and safety, decrease the risk of illness, drownings and injuries associated with recreational water facilities.
- 32% of injuries happen in public pools and spas. Even if your family frequents a public pool with a lifeguard, never assume that your child’s safety is guaranteed.
- Ensure all pools and spas - both in your backyard and any public pool you may visit - have compliant drain covers. All public pools and spas must have drain grates or covers that meet safety standards to avoid life-threatening incidents. Powerful suction from a pool or spa drain can even trap an adult. (Pool and Spa Safety Act)
A third of treated recreational waterborne disease outbreaks during 2000 through 2014 occurred in hotel pools or hot tubs, according to the CDC.
The program will affect:
- Public and semi-public swimming pools and spas*
- Interactive water features (splash pads)
- Artificial swimming lagoons
- Swimming Pool/Spa Inspection Report
- Public Interactive Water Feature and Fountain (PIWFF) Inspection Report
- Public Swimming Pool Order
Q: Why do I need a permit?
A: The Williamson County and Cities Health District is establishing a public and semi-public swimming pool permitting and inspection program to increase public health and safety, decrease the risk of illness, drownings and injuries associated with recreational water facilities.
Q: How do I know if I need a permit?
A: A permit is required if you operate a public pool, semi-public pool, competitive event pool, therapy pool and/or spa. Additionally, operating a Public Interactive Water Feature or Fountain (Splash Pad) requires a permit.
Public or semi-public pool/spa – city/county parks, apartment/condo complexes, hotel/motels, HOA’s, commercial resorts, gyms, swim centers.
Q: Is my permit transferable?
A: Permits do not transfer with ownership. Prior to ownership changing hands you must complete a pre-permitting inspection and submit a permit to operate application. If you are also undergoing a structural remodel, a plan review is required.
Q: Are there exemptions to the permit requirements?
A: A permit is not required for a private pool or spa (single family or duplex residence, backyard pool/spa).
Q: How do I begin the permit process?
A: Permit seekers must submit an operating permit application along with payment and an inspection application. An inspector will contact you within three business days to schedule an inspection once all fees and paperwork are submitted.
Q: When do I need a plan review?
A: All new construction and structural remodel of public/semi-public swimming pools, spas, and interactive water features will require an approved plan review. Plans must be submitted and approved prior to construction. Also, a pre-permitting inspection will be required prior to issuance of an operating permit.
Q: How do I renew my permit?
A:Prior to expiration, a renewal notice will be mailed to the mailing address listed on the application. The renewal form must be completed and returned to the department along with the permit renewal fee. The operator is responsible for completing the renewal application and submitting payment regardless of whether a renewal notice is sent or received.
Q: What do I do when my permit is expired?
A: If your permit is expired, you will need complete a permit renewal application and submit it to the department along with your permit fee and late fee. Note: In this scenario you are technically operating without a permit.
Q: What do I do when I need a re-inspection?
A: To request a compliance re-inspection, you will need to submit the paperwork provided by the inspection indicating that a re-inspection is required and pay the re-inspection fee in person at the department’s walk-in
location. If you do not have access to the necessary paperwork when you arrive, please see the front desk for further instructions.
Q: Have the rules changed?
A: No, the WCCHD has adopted only existing state law regarding the operation and safety of public pools and spas. Please see our website for links to the existing state regulations.
Q: What do you look for when conducting an inspection?
A: There are many items evaluated during an inspection. Some of the top items are verifying that enclosures and gates are properly secured, safety equipment/components are provided and in proper working order, and water quality.
Q: Is there required training?
A: Yes, the state rules and the WCCHD Pool Order require that all public and semi-public pools, spas, and interactive water features be maintained under the supervision of a certified operator.
Q: Do I have to keep records?
A: Yes, water quality testing records must be maintained on site for two years and be made available upon inspection.
Texas Dept. of State Health Services/Public Swimming Pools and Spas
For more information contact WCCHD Environmental Health at 512-248-7620