Swimming Pool Water Quality Program

Summary: This program applies to pools and spas located on campus property, including University Hills. The Public Pool Safety Program will protect public health and comfort by monitoring the campus swimming facilities for compliance with the California Health and Safety Code, thereby, providing a safe environment to enjoy recreational swimming on campus property.

  1. Program Description
  2. Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Responsibilities
  5. Specific Program Components
  6. Reporting Requirements
  7. Information and External References
  8. Competency Assessment and Training Requirements

1. Program Description

The goal of this program is two-fold:

  • The campus Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) serves as a resource person for the campus community for current information on Public Swimming Pool Safety.
  • To provide reasonable and adequate guidance in reporting alleged outbreaks of illness due to swimming at one of the swimming facilities on campus property and to focus on the inspection of the campus swimming facilities on campus property.

2. Scope

This program applies to pools and spas located on campus property, including University Hills. The Public Pool Safety Program will protect public health and comfort by monitoring the campus swimming facilities for compliance with the California Health and Safety Code, thereby, providing a safe environment to enjoy recreational swimming on campus property.

3. Definitions

Waterborne Illness: A disease that is carried or has been transmitted through water.

REHS: Registered Environmental Health Specialist (i.e. Health Inspector)

4. Responsibilities

The campus REHS enforces the requirements contained in the California Health and Safety Code. These requirements include:

  • Plan review to determine whether a new or remodeled pool complies with California Health and Safety Code requirements AND on site construction inspections.
  • Unannounced inspections of pools throughout the year to check that the fencing and gates are in good working order, to monitor the pool water for clarity and sanitizer level and to check for required safety equipment, warning signs and other safety issues.
  • Investigations of complaints from the public regarding unsafe or unsanitary public pools.

5. Specific Program Components

5.1. Pool Operational Requirements

The following is a summary of some of the important health and safety issues that are enforced by EH&S.

5.1.1 Maintain the chlorine residual between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million free available chlorine. When chlorine stabilizers are added to the water, the residual should be maintained at 0.5 parts per million or higher. Cyanuric acid readings should not exceed 100 ppm and shall be tested for by the operator at least once per month.

5.1.2 An approved working disinfectant device (automatic chlorinator) is required. Continuous feeding of disinfectant and pool filtration is required during the hours the pool is available for use.

5.1.3 The pH is to be maintained between 7.2 and 8.0.

5.1.4 Pool cannot be used if water is not clean and clear.

5.2 Safety Equipment:

5.2.1 Safety and rescue equipment should be readily accessible at every swimming pool. These include:

  • Body hook attached to a light, strong pole at least 12 feet in length.
  • Life ring attached to a 3/16-inch line long enough to span the maximum width of the pool (Minimum exterior diameter of ring should be 17 inches).

5.2.2 Safety signs (posted in plain view from the nearby deck). These signs include:



    • Diagrammed illustrations of artificial respiration procedures.
    • Emergency phone number of the nearest emergency rescue service. The "911" emergency number, which is in effect for police, sheriff, fire and paramedic response, is recommended.
    • The operator needs to maintain daily operating records.
    • Drain covers need to be secured and removable only with tools and must be designed to prevent physical entrapment or a suction hazard.
    • Safety rope and buoys need to be maintained in the pool area if the pool is equipped for fastening such equipment.
    • The spa pool maximum water temperature is 104º Fahrenheit (40º Celsius).
    • The following warning sign must be posted adjacent to all spa pools:


Elderly persons, pregnant women, infants and those with health conditions requiring medical care should consult a physician before entering a spa.
Unsupervised use by children under the age of 14 is prohibited.
Hot water immersion while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, drugs or medicines may lead to serious consequences and is not recommended.
Do not use alone.
Long exposure may result in nausea, dizziness or fainting.

Should you have any questions or require further information about these requirements, please call Environmental Health and Safety at (949)-824-6200.

5.3 Imminent Health Hazards:

This program focuses on the inspection of swimming, wading and spa pools used by the public. The campus REHS will conduct unannounced routine inspections of pools throughout the year. Some potentially hazardous conditions could lead EH&S to order a public swimming, spa or wade pool closed. Immediate corrective action is needed for the following conditions:

  • Loose, damaged, or missing main drain covers. Drowning and injuries have occurred when users became entrapped by the suction produced from the drain in the bottom of spas, wading pools, and swimming pools.
  • Pool water that is so cloudy that the main drain at the bottom of the pool is not visible. Drownings and near drownings have occurred when children have fallen into a dirty, cloudy pool and could not be located in time to effect a rescue.
  • Nonfunctional recirculation system. The recirculation system is designed to maintain the pool water in a clear, disinfected and bacteriologically safe condition. If this system is malfunctioning or has been placed out of service for any length of time, it is impossible to maintain good water quality in the pool, spa or wading pool. It is vital that pool water be maintained clear and disinfected.
  • The pool fencing/enclosure is in disrepair. A pool that is not adequately fenced may be easily accessible to small children. Proper fencing is the primary means to prevent drowning by hindering access to the pool by small children. Changes to existing fencing or the installation of a new enclosure must receive approval from EH&S prior to the start of construction.
  • Human fecal contamination in the pool. Outbreaks of disease have been associated with pool water contaminated with feces. When fecal matter is observed, the pool shall be immediately closed and the fecal matter removed. The pool shall be super-chlorinated, the water filtered for at least 24 hours and the filters backwashed prior to reopening the pool. This same procedure should be employed if a dead animal is found in the pool.

6. Reporting Requirements

If you have a complaint about a swimming facility or the locker rooms on campus, you can leave a detailed voicemail message with this office at the following telephone number: (949)-824-6200. The campus Registered Environmental Health Specialist will contact you the next workday.

7. Information and External references

Links for Additional Information:
California Department of Public Health
California Health and Safety Code
Centers for Disease Control
NSF International
The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals
Underwriters Laboratories

Other Jurisdictions: Here is a comprehensive list of the other Health Departments in the Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties.

HCA-Orange County
Los Angeles County Environmental Health
San Bernadino County Division of Environmental Health
City of Pasadena Division of Environmental Health
City of Vernon-Environmental Health Division
Riverside County Environmental Health
San Diego County Environmental Health

8. Competency Assessment and Training Requirements

A. REHS Certification: The UCI EH&S Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) must maintain a valid and current REHS certification with the California Department of Public Health. For more information about REHS qualifications, visit California's Department of Public Health REHS Program.

Rev.: 6/2016

University of California, Irvine Environmental Health & Safety
4600 Health Sciences Road , Irvine, CA 92697-2725 (949) 824-6200, Fax (949) 824-8539