Public Swimming Pools and Spas

Licensing and Inspection

The Department of Public Health and Environment licenses swimming pools, whirlpool and spa pools at apartment buildings, hotels, food establishments, manufactured home parks, recreational camping areas and/or youth camps. These pools and spas are inspected annually for health and safety violations. The regulations for pools and spas are outlined in the Washington County Pool Ordinance and the Minnesota Pool Code.

For seasonal pools, health and safety items must be in place prior to opening the pool. Please utilize the outdoor pool checklist (PDF) which includes the minimum requirements.

Public pools and spas are routinely inspected for a variety of factors, including the following areas:

  • Water chemistry (disinfectant, pH, alkalinity, etc.), clarity and temperature.
  • Operations – including a certified pool operator, daily records, pool test kit.
  • Life, health and safety issues – life poles, ring buoys, signage, depth markings, ladders, lifeguards, spine boards, etc.
  • Access restrictions.
  • Equipment repair and operation.
  • Pool structure, repair cleanliness, lighting.
  • Support facilities, such as locker rooms, saunas, showers and toilets.
  • Special pool operations and signage requirements, such as for spas and flumes.
  • Building and pool structure and maintenance, lighting, ventilation, cleanliness.

New Construction or Alterations to Existing Pools

Plans for new construction or alterations to existing public swimming pools or whirlpool/spa pools must be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health. A public pool shall not be constructed or altered until plans and specifications have been submitted to and approved by the Minnesota Health Department Health. The CPO must inform the Health Department upon completion of the plan to determine compliance with Minn. Rules Chapter 4717.

  • Print and complete the license application.
  • Submit the application and applicable license fee.
  • If purchasing an existing facility with a swimming pool or whirlpool/spa pool, a compliance inspection must be conducted prior to the closing date of the sale. 
    • Swimming pool or whirlpool/spa pool licenses are not transferable to person or place. 
    • A new license must be obtained before you begin operation of the swimming pool or whirlpool/spa pool.
  • Public pools are required to have a certified pool operator and the operator’s certification must be posted (see Minnesota Rules, part 4717.0650, subpart 5). A certified trained operator must successfully complete a recertification course at least once every five years. For a list of courses, visit the course listings at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Report a Concern

To report a concern or complaint about a pool or spa, go to Report a Concern and submit the information. Your report will go directly to the department for follow-up.