Swimming Pool Program
Opening /Re-Opening Public & Semi-Public Pools
In accordance with Governor Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” plan, public/semi-public pools, spas, and similar aquatic venues may open at 50% their normal capacity when their respective Indiana counties move into stage 3 of the plan, which is currently planned for May 24, 2020. Major water parks are permitted to open at 50% capacity when a given county moves into stage 4 of the plan.
As Hamilton County moves to “Phase 3”, it is important to review the Indiana State Department of Health’s “COVID-19 Response Recommendations for Pools and Aquatic Facilities” document (attached to this email) and their “Temporary Closures of Pools, Spas, and other Aquatic Venues: Prevention of Biofilm and Legionellae Establishment” document (available at https://www.in.gov/isdh/files/POOLStartup_COVID-19%202020415.pdf).
In accordance with the local and state re-opening requirements, the following will be required when pools are able to re-open:
1) Pool facilities must operate at 50% of normal capacity, meaning 50% of their normal “Maximum Bather Load”,. This 50% occupancy number must be posted at each entrance to your facility on a sign with letters at least 1” high. Operators are expected to operate and monitor their facilities to ensure the maximum occupancy is not exceeded.
2) Ensure pool water chemistry is properly maintained in accordance with 410 IAC 6-2.1 and properly documented in the required daily logs. Proper disinfectant levels are critical in keeping patrons safe against not only COVID-19, but other disease. Outdoor pools using Cyanuric Acid, must diligently maintain those levels so they do not exceed 60ppm. Excess Cyanuric Acid reduces the effectiveness of the disinfectants.
3) Facility employees must wear face coverings when working near patrons or in areas accessible to patrons. Patrons should be encouraged or even required to wear face coverings when they are not actively swimming or in the water.
4) Disinfection of frequently touched surfaces is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. This includes but is not limited to the following: bathroom toilets, faucets, toilet flushing handles, doorknobs, handrails, gates, light switches, lock boxes, key readers, showers, emergency shut-off buttons, telephones, “touch to activate” buttons, spa controls, tables and chairs (recommended to remove), water fountains, deck surfaces etc.
5) Social distancing when in the pool and on the pool, decks must be adhered to. Consider removing all deck furniture and have patrons bring their own if facility does not have staffing that can clean and disinfect these items between use. Consider marking off areas with 6-foot intervals for ease of patron use.
COVID-19 Related Guidance Documents - Water
- HCHD- Updated Pool Signage (PDF) (05/12/2020)
- HCHD - Public Swimming Pool Touch Point Guidance (PDF) (03/23/2020)
- ISDH - Pool Operations Stage Re-opening (PDF) (05/12/20)
- ISDH - Closed Pools & Spas Preventing Biofilm (PDF) (04/15/2020)
- ISDH - Public/Semi-Public Pool Closure (PDF) (04/06/2020)
Additional Resources and Information
For more information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 at public/semi-public aquatic facilities, please visit:
- The Center for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA)’s COVID-19 webpage: https://www.phta.org/corona-test#1
- Indiana State Department of Health’s Public Swimming Pool and Spa Program: www.pools.isdh.in.gov
- Governor Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” plan website: https://www.backontrack.in.gov/
- The Pool Management Group’s “Pools Can Open Safely – COVID-19” webpage: http://www.poolmanagementgroup.com/research/detail/pools_can_open_safely
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has provided information and instructions on how to disinfect surfaces at the following: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaningdisinfection.html.
A complete list of EPA registered disinfectants suitable for coronavirus surface disinfection can be found at the following: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.
As new information and/or guidance is received from ISDH or the Governor’s Office, HCHD will provide it to all facilities.
Please note that all facilities must have at least one satisfactory water sample, and have it reported to HCHD prior to opening for the season. Check that your lab has our email as email@example.com for weekly submittals.
We appreciate your patience and full compliance with restrictions and regulations as this Coronavirus continues to spread through the community. We have enclosed a checklist for the facility operator and signage for patrons for your convenience.
Inspections are based on a variety of pool operations such general pool conditions, bathhouse, bather load, operating and safety equipment, water quality levels and required weekly water sampling requirements.
- Pools are required to keep on site a record of all pool maintenance completed.
- A Certified Pool Operator on staff is recommended for pools in Hamilton County..
- Bacteriological samples must be submitted weekly during operation periods, failure to meet disinfection or sampling requirements is reason for immediate closure of an unsafe pool.
- Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ about Public and Semi-Public Pools.
- 410 IAC 6-2.1 - The Public and Semi-Public Pools Rule.
- ISDH Guidelines (PDF) have been issued for interactive water fountains ,also known as "spray grounds," "wet decks," "splash pads," "spray pads," or "spray parks".
- 675 IAC 20 (PDF) - The Fire Prevention And Building Safety Commission Swimming Pool Construction Code.
- Pool safety & operational forms can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website.
Pool & Spa Safety
- 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.
Center for Disease Control Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthy Swimming Web Page - This website provides information on recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and what the public, health professionals and pool facilities can do to prevent their transmission. Also available on their web page: