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).
The public swimming pool 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
Special Use Pool
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:
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
Public Swimming Pool and Spa Drowning Prevention Program:
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in children ages 1 to 4 in Ohio; it is the second leading cause of unintentional 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. Historically, Ohio has not systematically collected detailed information on public swimming pool-related injuries or deaths.
Recognizing the usefulness of this information for preventing drowning incidents, the Ohio Department of Health has initiated the Public Swimming Pool and Spa Drowning Prevention Program to determine the frequency and circumstances of these occurrences and to identify opportunities to prevent serious injuries in the future.
Any incident associated with a public swimming pool or spa facility that results in death, serious injury, or assistance from emergency medical personnel shall be reported to the licensor within seventy-two hours following the incident. “Serious injury” is defined as an injury that does not require immediate hospital admission but does require medical treatment, other than first aid. Voluntary reporting of other injuries is highly encouraged.
Injuries are to be reported using the “Ohio Public Swimming Pool and Spa Injury Report Form” (HEA 0203). Instructions for reporting can be found here: “Completing the Ohio Public Swimming Pool and Spa Injury Report Form”.