Swimming Pool Program
COVID-19 Response Guidance for Pools and Aquatic Facilities (IDOH 4/6/2021)
In accordance with Governor Holcomb’s most recent Covid-19 related Executive Orders (available at www.in.gov/gov/newsroom/executive-orders/), the statewide mask mandate and several other countermeasures have been changed from requirements to recommendations. Citizens are still expected to take responsibility for their own safety, as well as for the safety of those around them. Even a fully vaccinated person may unknowingly spread Covid-19 to the unvaccinated and the vulnerable.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through pool water within properly maintained aquatic venues, because the disinfectant (Chlorine or Bromine) kills the virus when water chemistry and circulation are adequate. However, there are many opportunities for COVID-19 to spread directly between patrons in the pool deck area, pool enclosure, and sanitary facilities. This is especially true within indoor aquatic facilities, where the direct spread of respiratory droplets through the air beyond six (6) feet is possible.
This guidance is intended to summarize best practices for the operation of public/semi-public aquatic venues, while highlighting those public health mandates that do remain in effect. Every business or entity is still expected to develop and maintain a Covid-19 Response Plan, per Governor Holcomb’s most current Executive Order. This IDOH guidance should be considered when developing such a response plan for an entity operating a public or semi-public aquatic facility.
To read the current Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) COVID-19 response guidance dated 4/6/21, follow this link: https://www.in.gov/isdh/files/COVID-19%20Pool%20Operation%202021-04-06.pdf
Recommendations for COVID-19 Safety at all Aquatic facilities:
- DO NOT ENTER an aquatic facility if you have been ill in the past two weeks or have a cough, fever, diarrhea, or other symptoms of illness.
- Utilize social distancing. Keep chairs at least 6ft apart from people not in your household. Be respectful of other patrons’ space.
- Bring your own chair. Removing “common” furniture eliminates the exposure of COVID-19 and other diseases.
- Wash your hands after using the restroom. Use hand sanitizer if available. Handwashing is the best way to properly clean hands and sanitizer is not a replacement for handwashing.
- Take a cleansing shower before AND after swimming in the pool.
- Do not share toys or personal flotation devices.
- Always monitor children. (even if lifeguard is present)
- NO CHANGING OF DIAPERS POOLSIDE!
- Bring your own personal protection and disinfectant.
- Wear masks when NOT in the pool.
COVID-19 Related Guidance Documents - Water
- HCHD - Public Swimming Pool Touch Point Guidance (PDF) (03/23/2020)
- IDOH - Closed Pools & Spas Preventing Biofilm (PDF) (04/15/2020)
- IDOH- Opening of Pools and Aquatic Facilities Guidance (4/6/2021)
Additional Resources and Information
For more information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 at public/semi-public aquatic facilities, please visit:
- 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/
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 compliance with all recommendations and guidelines as this Coronavirus continues to spread through the community.
Swimming Pool Program
The Hamilton County Health Department water program consists of permitting and inspecting of all public and semi-public swimming pools and spas. Hamilton County currently permits and inspects over 400 pools annually. Pools are permitted as either seasonal operation (May-September) or year-round operations. Applications are issued approximately 6 weeks prior to expiration of the facilities permit. The Hamilton County Health Department pool/spa inspections follow the requirements of the Indiana State Department of Health 2010 Swimming Pool Rule 410 IAC 6-2.1.
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 the pool.
For a list of Indiana Certified Drinking Water Laboratories, visit their website.
- 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
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.