Swimming Pools, Spas, and Recreational Waters Inspections
Permits are required for all commercial public pool and spa facilities, and park facilities that own and/or maintain swimming pools and/or spas.
Permits are required for all commercial public pools and spa facilities, including apartment complexes, homeowner associations, private gyms, private swim clubs, schools (public and private) and park facilities that own and/or maintain swimming pools and/or spas.
Environmental Health staff conduct inspections of these facilities to ensure the safety of the water quality and the proper functioning of the disinfection, circulation and filtration systems. The Pool and Spa Inspection program ensures compliance with State and local laws and regulations for all commercial public pools and spas in the City.
Most public pools and spas in the City typically operate on seasonal basis (May – September), and are inspected during operation each year, while year-round facilities, such as the YMCA, are inspected more frequently throughout the year. Follow-up inspections are also performed as needed if a pool or spa does not meet the minimum standards.
All new and remodeled public pools are required to submit plans for review and compliance with the State Health and Safety Code (H&SC) and the State Building Standards Code. They must also pass a pre-gunite and equipment inspection prior to opening.
Facility Permit & Plan Review
A permit is required for every public pool and spa.
New construction, renovations, and equipment replacement based on the scope of work may require Plan Review.
A Public Pool Plan Check Guideline is available as a technical resource for applicants interested in new construction (or major remodel) by telephone at (510) 981-7680 and TDD (510) 981-6903.
|Establishment||Annual Fees||Plan Check|
|Public Swimming Pools||$704||$1,416|
Please contact the City’s Permit Service Center for submittal requirements and plan check fees. They are located at:
1947 Center Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
For additional inquiries on the plan review process, contact the City’s Environmental Health Division via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (510) 981-5310
The Environmental Health Division is the City’s primary enforcement authority over pools, spas and other recreational bathing facilities. The applicable laws and regulations are contained in a variety of sources ranging from the California State Health and Safety Code, California Code of Regulations, the California Building Code, the California Electrical Code and the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC), Title 11, Chapter 11.20.
Enforcement activities include assessment of reinspection fees to pool/spa facilities that require more staff time and resources to achieve compliance, issuance of citations for BMC violations, administrative hearings to suspend or revoke pool/spa facility permits, and orders for immediate closure based on imminent health hazards.
Conditions for Closures
Certain conditions can warrant the immediate closure of a pool and/or spa, which can be either a single item from the list below to a combination of factors including, but not limited to:
- Incorrect water chemistry
- Water temperatures above 104°F (heat pools/spas).
- Insufficient clarity (main drain OR deep end of the pool floor not visible).
- Bacteriological test samples revealed adverse results.
- Electrical hazards
- Lack of rescue equipment
- Missing or inoperative spa emergency shut off switch.
- Loose, missing or broken suction outlet fittings and/or secondary anti-entrapment devices/systems.
- Gates incapable of self-closing and/or self-latching.
- Excessive spacing in pool enclosure, i.e. greater than 4”
- Inoperative or missing pump(s) or filter(s).
- Inoperative or missing disinfectant feeder(s).
- Unapproved chemical feeding or delivery.
- Lacking interlock between chemical feeder(s) and the pump.
- Gas chlorination hazards.
- Failure to remove the pool cover/blanket during open hours.
- Construction or renovation work that has not been authorized by Environmental Health
- Failure to renew the public health permit.
- Any condition which, in the opinion of the enforcing agent, is unhealthful, unsafe or unsanitary (e.g., physical hazards, laceration hazards, potential electrocution hazards, abandoned pools/green pools/mosquito breeding).
Water Chemistry and Disinfection
All public pools, spas and recreational bathing facilities are required to have a properly functioning disinfection and recirculation system which protects bathers from getting sick from pathogens (disease-causing organisms) passed on from other swimmers, or in some cases, from animals. Improper water chemistry is perhaps the single most common cause for an immediate closure of a pool or spa, particularly the free-chlorine level. Too little free-chlorine could allow pathogens to survive, and potentially cause illness through ingestion of contaminated water. Too much free-chlorine can result in eye, skin and lung irritation or injury.
Without cyanuric acid
|Swimming Pools||1.0 ppm||10.0 ppm|
|Spas, Waders, & Spray Grounds||3.0 ppm||10.0 ppm|
With cyanuric acid
|Swimming Pools||2.0 ppm||10.0 ppm|
|Spas, Waders, & Spray Grounds||3.0 ppm||10.0 ppm|
|Swimming Pools||2.0 ppm||=|
|Spas, Waders, & Spray Grounds||4.0 ppm||=|
|Cyanuric Acid||0 ppm||100 ppm|
|Water Temperature||Not applicable||1040 F|