There are more than 37,000 public pools and spas in Florida accessible by 19.5 million Florida residents and more than 100 million Florida visitors annually. These public pools will no longer be inspected for safety by Department of Health (DOH) inspectors except for water quality and deck equipment. Records show there were 27,000 violations cited by DOH in the last year – consider the consequences if this many violations go unnoticed in the future.
Elimination of these inspections is a result of state legislative action that now prohibits the DOH’s longstanding involvement with aspects of public pool safety, particularly those aspects of the pool’s construction – structure, piping and equipment. It is an unintended consequence of a 2012 bill that passed, attempting to eliminate the duplicative efforts of the DOH and Florida’s building departments. However, once a public pool or spa is constructed and placed into service, building departments will not provide any routine inspections, nor will the DOH. Supervision of these pools will be left up solely to the pool operators and facilities. Fences and gates, ladders, depth markers and GFCI protection will no longer be inspected by the DOH. Language included in a building code bill to correct this problem was introduced into the 2015 Florida legislative session, but the amendment was not passed, due to early dismissal of the session and objections by several state legislators citing “too much government regulation.” Pool industry associations and professionals throughout the state do not agree are voicing their concerns that this action would result in unsafe public pools and spas, and have started an online petition to rally public support to convince legislators to reverse their position on this matter. This online petition and more information about the changes in public pool and spa inspections can be found at www.keepsafepools.com.
The Florida Public Pool Coalition is made up of the Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA), the Building Officials Association of Florida (BOAF) and the United Pool & Spa Association (UPSA).
Contact: Wendy Parker Barsell 800-548-6774