Public Swimming Pool and Spa Program

The purpose of the rules developed by the Ohio Department of Health with the assistance of the Swimming Pool Rule Review Committee, is to establish minimum standards in Ohio for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of these facilities in order to protect the public from injury, minimize the potential for disease transmission and provide a safe and healthy aquatic recreational environment. The Pools and Spas Program is a state mandated program which is enforced by the Portsmouth City Health Department for all public pools, spas and special use pools located inside the city limits. Pools and spas are inspected monthly during a licensing year that begins with the date of license issuance and ends the last day of May on the following year.

A public swimming pool is defined as any indoor or outdoor structure, chamber or tank containing a body of water for swimming, diving or bathing but does not include a private residential swimming pool.

Public swimming pools, spas and special use pools are regulated under the authority of Chapter 3749 of the Ohio Revised Code and the rules specified in Chapter 3701-31 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

During a routine inspection of a licensed public pool an inspector checks the following:

• Proper Water Supply/Quality
• Circulation System, Hair and Lint Strainer, Piping, and Disinfectant
• Proper Turnover Rates
• Approved Filter(s)
• Inlets/Outlets, Main Drains, Gutters or Skimmers
• Pressure or Vacuum gauge
• Automatic Chemical Controllers—not hand feed
• Vacuum Limit Switch
• Proper Lighting
• Safe Ladders and Handrails
• Depth Markers
• Special Requirements for Recreational Diving
• Proper Signage for “No Diving” in shallow or wading pools
• Telephone with Emergency Numbers
• Proper Signage if No Lifeguard on Duty
• Intermittent Floats at changes that increase pool bottom slope
• Proper Sanitation of Water Supply
• Proper Temperature Maintenance
• Adequate Ventilation for indoor pools/spas
• Approved Drain Cover

As of December 19, 2008 new legislature known as the Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGB) was passed requiring that all swimming pools, spas and special use pools have anti-entrapment and anti-evisceration mechanisms in place. These mechanisms will be a special type of drain cover which will prevent a child from injury by way of drain suction. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the federal agency tasked with enforcing this legislation, and all public pools, spas and special use pools MUST comply with this federal legislation as a result.  However, the Director of Health has granted a statewide variance to all pool operators and contractors from the requirements in OAC rules, which are less stringent than the federal legislation passed December 19, 2008. For more information regarding the requirements of the VGB Act follow this link: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/eh/swim/swim1.aspx.

Additional inspections are performed as a result of public health-related complaints and all inspections are public record.

Any questions, concerns or complaints concerning any public pools, spas or special use pools, please contact the Environmental Health Division at (740)353-5153.

All pool or spa inspections are public record and a copy of the inspections may be obtained at the Environmental Health Division office located at 605 Washington Street.