Swimming Pools & Spas

Swimming is a healthy way to be active, pools are a great play area especially during the heat, and spas are a relaxing venue. The Environmental Health Division ensures bather health and safety by verifying sanitation and compliance with public and commercial pool code requirements.

Plan Review

Before constructing or altering a swimming pool, spa, or spray grounds facility and associated structure or equipment (such as fencing and decking), plan approval must be obtained from the Environmental Health. The plan review process ensures that the pool installation checked for compliance, money is not wasted on unnecessary repairs due to unapproved installations and ensures bathers can enjoy the pool safely.

The following activities require plan review:

  • New construction and remodels
  • Equipment changes including adding solar
  • Plaster and fiberglass resurfacing
  • Plumbing upgrades and changes
  • Deck replacement, modifications, or refinishing
  • Fencing or entry gate replacement

The plan review process can take some time and involves other agencies including, but not limited to local planning, building, fire, public works and other Environmental Health Programs. Facilities on wells and on septic systems are under review by the Water Resource and Land Use programs in Environmental Health. You must contact these programs directly regarding any Water or Land Use requirements.

The Building Department will require verification of Consumer Protection Program plan approval before issuing a Building Permit. However, they will not forward plans or make payments on your behalf. A separate plan review submittal is required with the Consumer Protection Program.

All plan review documents can be e-mailed using a file transfer service (e.g. Drop Box, Adobe File, and Google Drive) to:
ConsumerPlanCheck@santacruzcounty.us

An invoice for on-line payment will be generated upon receipt of all required paperwork. The plans are added to the list for review once payment is received. Plans are reviewed on a first come first serve basis.

A complete submittal must include:

  • Plan review application;
  • Construction checklist;
  • Scope of work;
  • Plans
  • Applicable fee; and
  • Manufacturer equipment specification sheets.

Public and commercial pool work must be conducted by licensed contractors with experience working with public and commercial pool installations. The work a contractor can do is limited by the type of license they hold. For example, while a C-13 fencing contractor can build a fence, this contractor could not build a pool or certify anti-entrapment repairs. A C-61/ D35 Spa and pool maintenance contractor can install, replace, or repair pool motors, pumps, filters, gas heaters, anti-entrapment covers not requiring digging into the pool shell, and work on any above ground piping. A California C53 Swimming Pool Contractor License is needed to modify or construct a pool (above and below grade) and conduct anti-entrapment repairs requiring digging into the shell.

The California Contractor Licensing Board maintains a web site describing the types, specialties, and limitations for all licensed contractors. The web site includes a link that allows a visitor to look up a contractor’s license type and status. We advise you verify your contractor’s license before securing their services.

Swimming Pool Facility Change of Ownership

Congratulations! You are now a proud pool facility owner. By now, you must be aware that health permits are non-transferrable. Before you are eligible for a pool facility operational health permit, this Agency must verify that the pool and spa meets minimum pool safety standards. This process is called a Pool Facility Evaluation. This Agency will verify that the pool’s anti-entrapment systems are current and compliant during this evaluation along with other pool safety components. You must complete a Facility Evaluation Application and submit with fee to receive this service.

Swimming Pool Operation

An annual Environmental Health permit is required to operate a public or commercial bathing facility. This annual operational health permit is separate from a plan review or facility evaluation. In plan review and facility evaluation the bathing facility is reviewed for structural and equipment compliance. Under an annual health permit, the bathing facility is inspected to ensure it is being served and maintained according to applicable State and local regulations once it is in use. Annual health permits are non-transferrable and are site, bathing facility, and owner specific.

Through inspection, this Agency verifies proper pool water recirculation, filtering, and disinfection. If not treated or maintained properly, pool water can result in Cryptosporidium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella, Giardia, E. coli, and other water borne infections. Improperly treated water can also result in other skin, ear, respiratory, eye, and digestive illnesses and conditions.

From checking self-closing doors, ensuring proper safety equipment is available to provide rescue, ensuring anti-entrapment systems are present to prevent unnecessary drownings, we do what we can to ensure that your visit to the pool remains joyful.