Pool & Spa Safety in Southside (Halifax, Mecklenburg & Brunswick)
COVID-19 and Phase 2 for POOLS
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) works to ensure healthy swimming is made possible for all the people of the Commonwealth. VDH’s Environmental Health Services is responsible for permitting and inspecting tourist establishment swimming pools such as hotels, water parks as well as some public pools based on locality. From the very beginning, VDH is involved by taking an active role in ensuring the safe design and construction of swimming pools and spas. Once the pool is up and ready for a dip, a VDH Health Inspector conducts a pre-opening inspection and at least one during the peak season. Depending on the type of establishment and conditions, the inspection frequency may increase. Each inspection checks various areas of pool safety to in order to ensure that swimmers’ health is top priority while enjoying a favorite pastime.
VDH inspections are a small snapshot of the pool safety that establishments must maintain for the entire open season of a public pool. It’s up to the pool operator’s responsibility to ensure that daily precautions are taken while VDH ensures compliance through routine inspections. Some of the most important things VDH looks for in public pool inspections include:
- Usage of only approved water sources- ones deemed safe & free of sewage or waste water
- Cleanliness of the pool shell and the surrounding surfaces
- Sufficient number of ladders and an adequate gated area around the pool
- Good lighting both inside and around the pool
- Proper depth marking on the pools edge
- Adequate circulation of pool water and clarity of water color
- Clean, operational filters- free of hair & scum!
- Working filter room with sufficient and properly operating equipment to manage pool
- Testing of pH levels (7.2-7.8) and Chlorine residuals ( < 3.0 ppm)
- Properly maintained logs and public posting of pool water quality results
- Lifeguard present during all hours of operation or “No Lifeguard” signage visible to guests
- Proper life saving equipment available
- General cleanliness and absence of safety hazards for all public swimmers
Pool Inspections and Applications
If you are a pool located in Halifax, Mecklenburg or Brunswick County, a permit to operate is not required. However, the local health department must inspect your pool. Download an application for inspection HERE and contact the the local county office to discuss inspections, update your contact information and schedule an inspection.
During Phase 2, the local health department will conduct pre-opening pool inspections upon request. It is likely that routine pool inspections will resume during Phase 3, if state guidance suggests such inspections can be done safely and in a manner to protect employees and patrons of the establishment.
Please be sure to review the Executive Order 65 and accompanying Phase 2 Guidelines to ensure compliance with the Governor’s directives.
If you’re interested in reading the rules and regulations for pools, click on the titles below:
- Swimming Pool Regulations Governing the Posting of Water Quality Test Results
- Regulations Governing Tourist Establishment Swimming Pools and Other Public Pools
Some additional information on pool safety:
- Visit & Share the VDH Healthy & Safe Swimming Week (occurs in May- before pool season opens!) website: Healthy Swimming.
- Find CDC information on Healthy Swimming/ Recreational Water: www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming
- Get health promotion materials to print, share and send the Healthy & Safe Swimming message at your local pools and spas: www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/resources
Share, educate and inform everyone you know on how they can keep themselves and others safe while at public pools!
Did you have an accident!? Read the CDC guidance on hyperchlorination and fecal events in pools