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Public Pools and Spas

Dedicated to the protection of public health and safety at public recreational facilities.

a floatation tube attached to a long hook hangs on the fence surrounding a poolPool regulations and codes are developed to make sure that treated recreational water facilities (for example, pools, hot tubs, and water parks) provide a clean, healthy, and safe environment for the public. These regulations set minimum standards (such as the amount of chlorine that should be in the pool) to decrease the public’s risk of illness and injury.

To ensure that these regulations are followed, the NHDES Pools and Spas Program regularly inspects treated recreational water venues. Private residential pools are exempt from this program. The state currently monitors conditions at more than 1,300 bathing facilities.

Standards of design have been established by NHDES to ensure that water quality is regularly sampled and analyzed, that construction designs provide for safe use, and that scheduled maintenance is regularly performed and recorded by the operator. If any of these standards are violated, a pool, spa or water slide may be closed by NHDES or the local health officer until corrective measures have been completed.

Safe and sanitary operating conditions at pools and spas can often be restored to acceptable standards by working with NHDES staff to make changes to the filtration or disinfection processes.

Legislative Changes for Public Pools and Spas

The NHDES Public Pool and Spa Program (RSA 485-A:26-27) was revised significantly by the state legislature in 2019 for the express purpose of increasing the public’s health and safety. At last count, the program has over 1,300 registered public bathing facilities scattered around the state that are operated by towns, campgrounds, recreational camps, hotels and condominium complexes.

The revised program is designed to ensure that existing and future facilities are properly maintained, constructed and operated by expanding the state’s ability to provide support to their owners and the public. Changes to the Pool and Spa Program will be part of a phased implementation, which is scheduled to occur from 2020 to 2022.

To receive future updates on the revised rules, please send an email to pools@des.nh.gov with the word “RULES” in the subject line.

Major changes to the program include:

 building plans on a tableUpdated Design Review Fee Structure

A non-refundable fee of $100 for one pool of equal to or less than 400 square feet plus $25 for every additional 100 square feet will be charged to complete design review and approval for construction. The previous fee was $100 regardless of pool size.

a row of red life vestsLifetime Registration

COMING SOON: A one-time registration form is required to be submitted that includes contact information, physical specifications, safety measures, and operational details for each “pool.” There is NO FEE associated with the registration. A follow-up registration is required if changes to registered information are made. This is a NEW requirement of the program.

lab beakersAnnual Compliance Self-Certification

COMING SOON: A fee-based annual compliance self-certification is required for each “pool” every year. The self-certification will include documentation of water quality testing, presence of critical safety equipment, and operational and maintenance records. The fee structure will be $250 per “pool” (regardless of size) up to a maximum of $1,500 annually for any facility greater than 6 or more “pools.” This is a NEW requirement of the program.

book on dockCertified Pool and Spa Operator Training

EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022: The revised program requires that each facility must be operated under the supervision of an individual that holds a current certification from an approved training program dedicated specifically to the operation of public bathing facilities. The approved training programs provided by Association of Pool and Spa Professionals and National Swimming Pool Foundation are available through a cooperative education group called the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance. This is a NEW requirement of the program.

Public Bathing Facility Approval

A permit is required before the construction of a new public bathing facility in order to ensure water quality, protect public health and protect the environment.

Public Bathing Facility Resources

Owners and operators of bathing facilities should retain records of the operation and maintenance of their facilities, along with documentation of water quality testing.

Resources for the Public

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Did you know?

Did you know?

Each year in the U.S., nearly 300 children under the age of 5 drown in residential and public pools and spas; 100% of all drownings are preventable.   

Water Illnesses

Recreational water illnesses are caused by germs spread by swallowing, inhaling, or having contact with contaminated water in public bathing facilities.

Swimmer Safety

In order to protect yourself and your loved ones, it is important to understand how to avoid the risks and injuries associated with swimming.

Watershed-Management
Program Coordinator
richard.wilson@des.nh.gov