Public Swimming Pool and Spa Program
Welcome to the home page for the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) Public Swimming Pool Program. IDOH’s Environmental Health Program staff train local health department personnel on how to maintain a safe and healthy pool or spa environment and provide technical assistance. Staff also assist local health departments each spring with a one-day swimming pool training session for pool owners and operators, if the county chooses to put one on.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Division of Fire and Building Safety reviews and approves plans for the construction of public swimming pools.
Announcements / Current News
Healthy Swimming at the Beach and Lake
- Learn what you can do to keep healthy and safe while swimming outdoors in lakes, rivers, and at the beach.
Lifeguard/Attendant Recommendations for Water Attraction/Water Attraction Complexes (Water Parks) Issued
- New recommended guidelines for lifeguards/attendants at water parks are in addition to the lifeguard requirements found in 410 IAC 6-2.1.
- In accordance with Governor Holcomb's Executive Order, all public and semi-public pools, spas, interactive fountains, other aquatic venues, and their associated aquatic facilities may open subject to mask and social distancing requirements and the below guidance.
- Opening of Pools and Aquatic Facilities Guidance
- Temporary Closures of Pools, Spas, and other Aquatic Venues operation guidelines while closed.
There are new ADA requirements for accessibility at pools
- Read our handout for information and useful links.
Revised ADA Regulations: Implementing Title II and Title III
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 11 people a day die from unintentional drowning. Software engineer Francisco Saldaña created the simple educational game spotthedrowningchild.com to help people recognize the deadly situation. A person who is drowning is physiologically incapable of calling out or waving for help – meaning often there is little noise or splash. Things to look for instead:
- The individual’s mouth bobs above and below the surface while the body remains upright without evidence of kicking.
- The individual’s arms spread to the side and push down against the water to try and push their mouths out of the water.
The videos that Mr. Saldaña used show lifeguards successfully rescuing children from drowning.
Guidelines for Interactive Water Fountains
Guidelines have been issued for interactive water fountains, also known as "spray grounds," "wet decks," "splash pads," "spray pads," or "spray parks". PDF
Indiana certified water laboratories
Pre-approved automatic Hot Water Temperature Control Valves
Water microbiology laboratories (Indiana-certified)
Laws and Regulations
Program Information and Policies
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Regulations for Swimming Pools Handout
New regulations regarding ADA became effective on March 15, 2011. This document will provide a brief summary of the new regulations that pertain to swimming pools (public and semi-public, water parks, wading, spas, and all other pools). It is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a complete description of this federal law.
- The intent of the CFATS program is to identify and regulate high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with these chemicals and to protect chemical facilities from the threat of terrorist attack or exploitation.
- One of the COIs that requires physical protection is chlorine, specifically, storage of chlorine typically in compressed gas containers with a threshold of 1% concentration and 2,500 lbs for permanent tanks (immobile) and/or 9.77% concentration and more than 500 lbs (in transportation packaging, aka, portable containers).
- Few pools still use this form of chlorine, those that do possess chlorine in this form, concentration, and quantity are required to register their holdings.
Guidelines for dog swims at public swimming pools
Dog swims, also referred to as “drool in the pool” or “dog days,” are special events where domestic dogs (pets) are allowed to swim and participate in activities at public swimming pools after the pool season is over.
Guidelines for lifeguards/attendants at water parks
Lifeguard/Attendant Recommendations for Water Attraction/Water Attraction Complexes (Water Parks)
Information on why hand washing is important; how diseases are spread; when hands should be washed; the proper way to wash hands; and how hand washing can protect you and your family.
IDOH fact sheet on Indoor Swimming Pool Irritants. See CDC Resources for more information.
Lightning and Aquatics Safety
An abstract from the National Lightning Safety Institute. This paper describes lightning pathways to interior structures and provides references to recent national codes and standards. It recommends guidelines for decision-making in order to maximize lightning safety for indoor pools.
Policy on Emergency Numbers at Public Pools
This document specifies when "911" needs to be posted as an emergency number.
Responsible Adult Guidelines
Guidelines regarding the definition of a “Responsible Adult” as it pertains to the signage requirement for semi-public pools that have less than 2,000 square feet of water surface area and that do not provide lifeguards.
Shocking a Swimming Pool or Spa using Breakpoint Chlorination
Animals and Pools
Animals can be great companions, but if allowed in or near your pool, they can sometimes contaminate the water and spread germs that cause disease. It is important to always keep your pool clean and take precautions when animals have been in or near the pool. To learn more about keeping your pool safe from animal contaminants (such as feces), follow the link below.
CDC Swimming Pool and Spa Operation/Design
These are Healthy Swimming recommendations for appropriate pool and hot tub/spa design and operation.
Recommendations for Preventing Pool Chemical-Associated Injuries
These recommendations are based on a review of reports of pool chemical–associated injuries and the cover design of pool chemical storage area and pump room, chemical storage and handling, maintenance and repair, pool chemical training for aquatic–facility staff, emergency response plan, chemical packaging and labeling (for manufacturers and suppliers).
Crypto Alert for Aquatics Staff
Increasing Reports of Crypto Cases and Outbreaks. Crypto cases are on the rise!
CDC's updated recommendations for treating Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium, (or "Crypto") is a chlorine-resistant parasite that causes a diarrheal disease called Cryptosporidiosis. Even well-maintained pools, water parks, and interactive fountains can spread Crypto among swimmers. CDC Basic Information Sheet on Crypto. CDC Facts About Crypto and Swimming Pools
Crypto Alert for Health Professionals
Increasing Reports of Crypto Cases and Outbreaks. Crypto cases are on the rise!
Disinfection of Hot Tubs Contaminated with Legionella
Hot tubs that are not properly operated and maintained can provide an ideal environment for spreading Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. This CDC document explains how to disinfect contaminated hot tubs, whirlpool spas and hydrotherapy spas.
Healthy Swimming Protection
Healthy Swimming behaviors are needed to protect you and your kids from RWIs (recreational water illnesses) and will help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place.
Hydrotherapy Tank and Pool Operation
Recommendations for Environmental Infection Control in Health Care Facilities-Hydrotherapy Tanks and Pools - from the CDC.
Hyperchlorination to kill Cryptosporidium
Cryptosporidium (or "Crypto") is a chlorine-resistant parasite that causes a diarrheal disease called Cryptosporidiosis. Even well-maintained pools, water parks, and interactive fountains can spread Crypto among swimmers. The Centers for Disease Control has updated recommendations for treating water venues to eliminate Crypto. CDC Fact Sheet on Crypto.
Irritants (Chloramines) and Indoor Pool Air Quality
Pool operators may be getting complaints from swimmers and pool staff about stinging eyes, nasal irritation, or difficulty breathing after being in the water or breathing the air at swimming pools, particularly indoor pools. New research indicates that these symptoms may be an indication of poor water and indoor air quality at the pool caused by a build-up of irritants, known as chloramines, in the water and air. This website from the Centers for Disease Control provides information on this topic.
Recreational Water Illnesses
This website provides information on recreational water illnesses and what the public, health professionals and pool facilities can do to prevent their transmission. Also available on their web page:
- Recreational Water Illnesses: What are they?
- Recreational Water Illnesses: How are RWIS spread?
- Recreational Water Illnesses: Why doesn't chlorine kill these RWI germs?
- Recreational Water Illnesses: Where are RWIs found?
- Recreational Water Illnesses: Who is most likely to get ill from an RWI?
- Recreational Water Illnesses: How can we prevent RWIs?
Responding to Fecal Accidents
These are the Healthy Swimming recommendations for responding to fecal accidents and body fluids in pools.
- Your Disinfection Team
Chlorine and pH are the first defense against germs that can make swimmers sick.
- CDC Response Recommendations for Pool Staff
What do you do when you find poop in the pool?
- Vomit and Blood Contamination of Pool Water
Vomiting while swimming appears to be a common event - CDC Recommendations for responding to blood and vomit in a pool.
- Cleaning Up Body Fluid Spills on Pool Surface
Blood, feces, and vomit are all considered potentially contaminated with bloodborne germs. Therefore, spills of these fluids on the pool deck should be cleaned up and the contaminated surfaces disinfected immediately.
Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts
Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.
CPSC - Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
Update: Reminder Letter - May 11,2021
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act promotes the safe use of pools, spas and hot tubs by imposing mandatory federal requirements for suction entrapment avoidance and by establishing a voluntary grant program for states with laws that meet certain minimum requirements as outlined in the Act. Effective December 20, 2008, the Act is being administered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (CPSC)
The Act requires:
- Each public pool and spa, both new and existing, be equipped with drain covers conforming to the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 - 2007 Standard.
- Each public pool and spa in the United States with a single main drain other than an unblockable drain be equipped, at a minimum, with 1 or more of the following devices or systems designed to prevent entrapment by pool or spa drains:
- A safety vacuum release system that ceases operation of the pump reverses the circulation flow or otherwise provides a vacuum release at a suction outlet when a blockage is detected, that has been tested by an independent third-party and found to conform to ASME/ANSI standard A112.19.17 or ASTM standard F2387.
- A suction-limiting vent system with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening.
- A gravity drainage system that utilizes a collector tank.
- An automatic pump shut-off system.
- A device or system that disables the drain.
- Any other system approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ASME/ANSI standard A112.19.17 or ASTM standard F2387.
- Safety Drain Covers. Each swimming pool or spa drain cover manufactured, distributed, or entered into commerce in the United States shall conform to the American National Standard ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 - 2007 Suction Fittings for Use in Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Compliance with this Standard will be enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a consumer product safety rule.
CPSC VGB Web Page - A new page on CPSC's Web site that consolidates information about the Act, including: new frequently asked questions (FAQs), an updated list of certified manufacturers of drain covers and SVRSs, and other important information for stakeholders.
CPSC Pool and Spa Safety Act FAQ
These FAQs are unofficial descriptions and interpretations of various features of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act and do not replace or supersede the statutory requirements of the new legislation.
CPSC Staff’s Guide To Complying With the Pool & Spa Safety Act
CPSC Staff Interpretation
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff has prepared this guidance document that spells out the technical requirements of Section 1404 of the Act, along with CPSC staff’s answers to certain enforcement and legal issues.
How to Plan For the Unexpected - Preventing Child Drownings
Discusses how to reduce risks of child drownings in residential swimming pools. Gives safety tips and provides guidance for fences and gates, pool covers, barriers, alarms, etc.
Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools
Explains guidelines for barriers intended to prevent drownings and near-drownings of children in home pools, spas and hot tubs. Guidelines cover fences, gates, audible alarms for doors with access to pools, and power safety covers.
CPSC News and Updates
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted to restrict allowances given to unblockable drain covers in the federal pool and spa safety law.
On September 28, 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted to interpret an unblockable pool or spa drain based on the size of the drain opening and not the size of the drain cover used over the sump. The decision is retroactive, so pools that were brought into VGBA compliance with the installation of an unblockable–sized cover over a single, blockable-sized drain will have to be split, supplemented with a secondary system, or otherwise treated like a single outlet. The Commission has set a compliance date of May 28, 2012, to allow time for firms that require modifications as a result of this revocation to bring their pools into compliance with the statute as written.
CPSC Approves a Successor Drain Cover Standard for the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
The Pool & Spa Safety Act, or VGB Act, requires each swimming pool or spa drain cover manufactured, distributed, or entered into commerce in the United States to conform to ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 performance standard or any successor standard.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted unanimously to approve ANSI/APSP-16 2011 as the successor standard to the ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 drain cover standard mandated by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The Commission determined the new standard, ANSI/APSP-16 2011, was in the public interest, and incorporated this standard into its regulations. This means that effective September 6, 2011, drain covers manufactured, distributed, or entered into commerce in the United States must conform to the requirements of ANSI/APSP-16 2011. Until September 6, 2011, drain covers manufactured, distributed, or entered into commerce in the United States must conform to the requirements of ANSI/ASME A112.19-2007. Please note that ANSI/APSP-16 2011 is substantively identical to ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 and its two addenda.
CPSC published a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding the May 26, 2011 (revised March 14, 2012) recall of drain covers by eight manufacturers.
The FAQs can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2011/Frequently-Asked-Questions/ or on a link on the original recall press release.
Eight Manufacturers Voluntarily Recall Pool and In-ground Spa Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Ratings
For more information, contact the Drain Cover Recall Hotline at 866-478-3521.
Click here to view the CPSC press release on the recalled drain covers.
CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) votes to change the definition of "Public accommodations facility".
On March 1, 2010, the Commission voted (4-1) to issue a proposed interpretive rule interpreting “public accommodations facility” to mean “an inn, hotel, motel, or other places of lodging, except for an establishment located within a building that contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as the residence of such proprietor.”
On August 4, 2010, the Commission voted (5-0) to withdraw the proposed rule issued in March and directed staff to redraft for publication in the Federal Register a new proposed interpretive rule incorporating the definition below and initiating a 60-day comment period.
Public accommodations facility means an inn, hotel, motel, or other places of lodging, including, but not limited to, rental units rented on a bi-weekly or weekly basis.
In short, this interpretive rule would include bed and breakfasts under the definition of “public accommodations facility,” regardless of the number of rooms for rent or hire and regardless of whether the proprietor lives in the residence. The rule would also include a vacation rental home if the home offered a sufficient number of short-term stays or shared characteristics with a hotel, motel, or inn, such that it may be characterized as a “place of lodging.”
After considering comments received in response to the proposed rule, the Commission will decide whether to proceed with a final interpretive rule interpreting “public accommodations facility” and vote on exactly what the definition will encompass.
CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) Launches National Campaign to Change the Way People Think and Act about Pool and Spa Safety
On May 26, 2010, the CPSC started the Pool Safely campaign (http://www.poolsafely.gov/), a first-of-its-kind national public education effort to reduce child drownings and non-fatal submersions, and entrapments in swimming pools and spas.
CPSC released its annual reports on children's submersion and entrapment incidents which showed:
* From 2005-2007 there was an annual average of 385 pool and spa-related drownings for children younger than 15; about 78 percent, or 299, of these children were younger than five.
* From 2007-2009, there were an estimated average of 4,200 pool or spa emergency department-treated submersions for children younger than 15; and children between the ages of 12 to 35 months represented 47 percent of estimated injuries for these years.
* About 54 percent of the estimated injuries for 2007 - 2009 and 74 percent of the fatalities for 2005 - 2007 involving children younger than fifteen occurred at a residence.
* Most reported fatalities occurred on the day of (73 percent) or within a week of (additional 23 percent) the submersion incident. Just four percent of fatal victims survived beyond a week of the submersion; these victims had severe injuries and required intensive medical care.
* There were no reported entrapment fatalities for 2009. CPSC did receive eight reports of entrapment incidents in which seven people were injured in 2009.
For the complete reports see: Pool and Spa Submersions 2012 and Circulation/Suction Entrapments 1999 - 2011.
The years for reported injury and fatality statistics differ as a result of the lag in fatality reporting.