Pools and Spas
Dedicated to the protection of public health and safety at public recreational facilities.
NOTE: The administrative rules, Env-Wq 1100, that govern Public Bathing Places, are currently under significant revision in order to reflect statutory changes from 2019. Until further notice, Env-Wq 1100, as currently written are the current rules that are applicable to Public Bathing Places. To receive future updates on the revised rules, please send email [email protected] with the word “RULES” in the subject line.
Pool 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.
Resources for Public Bathing Facility Operators
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.
Major changes to the program include:
- Updated Design Review Fee Structure
- Lifetime Registration
- Annual Compliance Self-Certification
- Certified Pool and Spa Operator Training
Updated 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.
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.
Annual 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.
Certified 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.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. ADA Guidelines were signed into law on September 15, 2010, which require compliance by all Title II (Public) and Title III (Public Accommodations and Commercial) entities. The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (formerly The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals) provides guidance on ADA Compliance for publically-accessible bathing facilities. Learn more about ADA compliance >
ADA Standards for new or renovated facilities
ADA guidelines provide specification of certain elements in the design of new and renovated facilities to ensure that individuals with disabilities are generally able to access swimming pools and spas and use a variety of features of the facility. The guidelines are the minimum level of accessibility required, and you are encouraged to exceed these standards where possible to increase access.
NH Official Service Animal Guide
According to the ADA and New Hampshire’s Service Dog Laws, businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go.
Resources for the Public
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.