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Public Swimming Pools

Public swimming pools, spas and special use pools are regulated under the authority of Chapter 3749 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and Chapter 3701-31 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).

These rules were created to establish minimum standards, applicable throughout Ohio, for the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of these facilities in order to protect the bathing public from injury, minimize the potential for disease transmission, and provide a safe and healthy aquatic recreational environment. These rules do not pertain to private residential pools.

A public swimming pool collectively means a

  • Public Swimming Pool
  • Public Spa
  • Special Use Pool
  • Wading Pool
  • Spray Ground

Public swimming pool vs. private residential pool?

A public swimming pool is defined as any indoor or outdoor structure, chamber, or tank containing a body of water that is intended to be used collectively for swimming, diving, or bathing.

A private residential pool is one located at a dwelling housing no more than three families and used exclusively by the residents and their non-paying guests.

Services provided by the ODH Public Swimming Pool program:

  • Technical assistance and training on the construction, operation, maintenance, troubleshooting and evaluation of public swimming pools
  • Review and approval of engineered plans that have been designed to meet all of the requirements found within 3701-31 of the OAC 
  • Inspections during the construction process to ensure that the pool is installed per the rules and approved plans
  • Guidance to local health district staff for the implementation of the public swimming pool/spa/special use pool regulatory program
  • Periodic surveys of local health district licensing programs to assess their compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements
  • Resource for the general public relative to aquatic recreation issues, protection from disease transmission, personal safety, and complaint investigations

Drowning Prevention Pilot Project:

Drowning is the leading cause of injury deaths in children ages 1 to 4 in Ohio; it is the third leading cause of injury deaths in children ages 5 to 9 and 10 to 14. Survivors of severe drowning incidents can experience long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning deficiencies, and loss of basic cognitive functioning. Ohio does not currently collect detailed information on public swimming pool-related injuries or deaths.

Recognizing the usefulness of these details for preventing drowning incidents, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) initiated a Drowning Prevention Pilot Project to 1) better understand the circumstances surrounding these incidents, and 2) inform data-driven revision of public swimming pool rules.

Page Updated: 2/2/16