DOH Inspection Reports - Explanation of Code References

You just received an inspection report from your local health inspector.  What does it mean?  The inspection report will contain the results of any regular or special inspection.  Violations are marked for correction and the inspection is graded.  Not all violations yield the same degree of grading.  Typically pools and spas inspections are graded as satisfactory, unsatisfactory, pool closed.  

Explanation of Code References from an inspection report are:  

  1. Appearance/Algae/Clarity. 64E-9.004(1)(c) & (3); 64E-9.017(1)(c). The pool shall be free from floating debris, sediment, dirt, algae. The main drain shall be visible.
  2. Deck/Walkway. 64E-9.004(3); FBC 454.; 454.1.7.7; 454.1.8.5. Pool deck areas shall be free from sediment, debris, dirt, standing water, and algae; and refinished as needed to maintain safety/sanitation. Wet decks shall be unobstructed.
  3. Tile/Pool Finish. 64E-9.004(3); 64E-9.017(1)(h). Pool finish and tile shall be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition. 
  4. Depth Markers. FBC 454. Minimum 4 inch high, permanent, dark contrasting depth markings must be located on both sides of the pool at the shallow end, slope break, deep point and deep end wall, and every 25 feet. The markers must be installed inside and outside the pool, and have FT and IN abbreviated, or spelled out.
  5. Handrail/Ladder. FBC 454. & .5 Handrails must be provided for all pool steps and must be securely anchored in the pool deck and the bottom step. “Figure Four” handrails must be securely anchored in the pool deck and must extend to above the bottom step. Ladders must be provided and must be securely anchored in the pool deck and must rest against the pool wall with a 3 to 6 inch clearance.
  6. Step Markings. FBC 454. All step edges must have a 2 inch contrasting marking on the tread and riser (3/4 inch by 2 inch bullnose tile may be substituted) which shall extend the full length of each step and be slip resistant. Tile used on horizontal surfaces of steps, treads, benches, deck, markers and swimouts must be slip resistant.
  7. Suction Outlet Covers. Section 514.0315(1), F.S.; 64E-9.008(3)(a) & (10)(c); 64E-9.017(1)(e) & (g). All suction outlet covers/ grates shall be maintained as properly secured, intact, tested, reported to DOH on Verification form DH4157, and in compliance with the national anti-entrapment standard cited in section 514.0315(1), F.S. 
  8. Gutter Grates/Skimmer. FBC 454. & 2. Gutter drains must be covered by a fully intact grate. Skimmers must have a weir in place, deck cover secured in place and the basket must be in place and clean.
  9. Lighting Pool/Area. 64E-9.008(7). Underwater and outside lighting shall be provided for night swimming in accordance with the FBC, or the pool must be closed at night. 
  10. No Diving Markings. FBC 454. Areas of the pool which are not part of an approved diving bowl shall have dark contrasting “NO DIVING” markings every 25 feet.
  11. Diving Board. FBC 454.1.2.7. Diving boards must be secured and slip resistant. Required guard rails must be intact. Stanchions must be removed if board is removed.
  12. Pool Cover. 64E-9.008(5). A floating cover/blanket must be secured, or pool must be inaccessible to bathers. Cover/blanket shall not obstruct wet deck when removed.
  13. Pool Side Shower. FBC 454.1.6.2. All outdoor pools must have a rinse shower located on the pool deck within perimeter of the fence.
  14. Life Hook with Pole. 64E-9.008(3). A shepherd’s hook securely attached to a one piece pole not less than 16 feet long must be provided. The life hook must be fully accessible and visible from the pool. Pools over 50 feet in length must have a shepherd’s hook along each of the longer sides of the pool.
  15. Life Ring with Rope. 64E-9.008(3). An 18 inch diameter lifesaving ring with sufficient rope attached to reach all parts of the pool must be provided. The rope must be in good condition. The ring must be fully accessible, visible and not tied down or locked. Pools over 50 feet in length must have a lifesaving ring along each of the longer sides of the pool.
  16. Safety Line. 64E-9.008(4); FBC 454. Pool floors with a slope break must have a safety line mounted 2 feet before the slope break towards the shallow end using cup anchors. The safety line must have visible floats. It may be removed temporarily for lap swimming only while a safety attendant or lifeguard is present.
  17. Rules Posted. 64E-9.004(4); 64E-9.008(6) & (13)(f). Signs shall be maintained legible from the pool deck as approved by the jurisdictional building department addressing: bathing load, pool operation time, no-diving, animals, glass, food/beverages, showering, swimming while ill, swallowing pool water, and additionally for spa pools: temperature, spa use time, minimum age, and vulnerable person caution.
  18. Lifeguard/Instructor/Pool Technician Certification. 64E-9.008(2); 64E-9.018. If lifeguards or swimming instructors are provided, they must be certified by the American Red Cross, YMCA, or other nationally recognized aquatic training program. Swimming instructors must also be first aid and CPR certified; and swimming instructors of developmentally disabled students must also be certified in accordance with section 514.072, F.S. Proof of a certification is required at the pool site. Unless exempt under section 514.075, F.S., pool service technicians shall be certified under a DOH approved course.
  19. Supplies. 64E-10. Sanitary facilities must be furnished with toilet tissue, soap, single use paper towels or automatic hand-drying device, and waste receptacle.
  20. Clean. 64E-10. Sanitary facilities and floors shall be maintained in a cleaned and disinfected condition.
  21. Approved Test Kit. 64E-9.004(9). All pools must have an approved test kit on site capable of testing free chlorine (with DPD reagent), combined chlorine, pH, calcium hardness and total alkalinity. Pools utilizing chlorine generators must have a sodium chloride test kit. Pools using quaternary ammonium compounds must have a quaternary ammonium test kit. Pools using chlorine stabilizer must have a cyanuric acid test kit. NSF 50 certified halogen test strips may only be used for an Epsom salt (MgSO4) tank.
  22. Free Chlorine/Bromine. 64E-9.004(1); 64E-9.017(1). Free chlorine level must be between 1-10mg/L (parts per million) in conventional swimming pools, inclusive; or 2-10 ppm bromine. Spa pools & IWFs must maintain 2-10 mg/L free chlorine, or 3-10mg/L bromine. The maximum disinfectant level for indoor conventional swimming pools is 5 mg/L chlorine or 6 mg/L bromine. Pool owner must prohibit pool use when water quality is outside these parameters.
  23. pH. 64E-9.004(1); 64E-9.017(1). The pH in all pools shall be maintained between 7.2 and 7.8, inclusive. Pool owner must prohibit pool use when water quality is outside these parameters.
  24. Chlorine Stabilizer. 64E-9.004(1). The concentration of chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid) shall not exceed 100 ppm in conventional pools or 40 ppm in spas.
  25. Spa 104°F, ORP, Oils. 64E-9.008(8) & (12). Spa pools have a maximum temperature of 104° F. Spas must have an ORP auto controller to aide in pH and disinfection with water potential between 700 and 850 millivolts, unless spa pool is exempt by age & size. Oils, minerals, and lotions may not be used by patrons.
  26. Wading Pool: Quick Dump. 64E-9.008(11). All wading pools must have emergency drainage capabilities.
  27. Water Level/Control. 64E-9.004(6); FBC 454. The pool water level shall be maintained for continuous skimming flow during periods of non-use. A manual and automatic fill device shall be provided and shall discharge into the collector tank.
  28. Disinfection Feeder. 64E-9.008(10)(e); 64E-9.017(1). A properly sized disinfection feeder and/or generator shall be provided. Electrical pumps must be electrically interlocked with the recirculation pump. Feeders/generators must be certified under NSF/ANSI 50.
  29. pH Feeder. 64E-9.008(10)(e); 64E-9.017(1). pH adjustment feeders must be provided on all pools, and must be electrically interlocked with the recirculation pump.
  30. Chemical Container/Labeled. FBC 454. & .3. Solution reservoirs shall have at least 50 percent storage capacity of the solution pump and shall be labeled.
  31. Filter / Pump. 64E-9.004(5) & .008(10). The filter & pump shall be properly sized and operable, at the design flow rate.
  32. Vacuum Cleaner. FBC 454. All pools shall have a vacuum cleaning system. (Except for spa and wading pools of 200 square feet or less.)
  33. Flowmeter. 64E-9.008(10)(b); FBC 454. All pools shall have a functional flowmeter capable of reading from 1/2 to 1&1/2 the design flow rate.
  34. Thermometer. 64E-9.008(8); FBC 454. Pools equipped with a heater must have a functional in-line thermometer mounted downstream of the heater outlet.
  35. Pressure/Vacuum Gauges. 64E-9.008(10)(d). All vacuum filter systems shall have a functional vacuum gauge before the pump. All pressure filter systems shall have a functional pressure gauge mounted before and after the filter.
  36. Equipment Room Drainage/Vent/Lighting/Clean. 64E-9.008(10) & (13);FBC454.1.5.1-.9. Equipment room shall: have Drainage, ventilation, lighting and be clutter free.
  37. Cross Connection. 64E-9.004(l)(a). An air gap must be provided in the fill line and in the waste line. Vacuum breakers shall be provided on all hose bibbs in the sanitary facilities, pool area and equipment room area.
  38. Gas Chlorine: Room/Area. FBC 454. Pools that utilize gas chlorine must: have a locked chlorine room, continuous forced draft ventilation exhausting at floor level to outside, 30 foot-candles illumination with switch outside the room, scales to weigh the cylinders with all cylinders chained. Area shall have roof and 6 foot chain fence.
  39. Waste Water Disposal. FBC 454. Waste water must discharge through an air gap and be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.
  40. D.E. Separator. FBC 454. Pools with D.E. filters shall be equipped with D.E. separation devices. (Tanks with air bleed/isolation valves and bottom drains)
  41. Other Equipment. 64E-9.008(10). Auxiliary equipment must not interfere with the attainment of the design flow, i.e. ionizers, UV, ozone generators, heaters, etc.
  42. Equipment Change. FBC 454.1.10. All equipment changes must have prior approval from the jurisdictional building department when they have jurisdiction, or the DOH. 
  43. Approved Chemicals. 64E-9.004(1)(d). All chemicals used in public pools must meet NSF Standard 60, Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals-Health Effects.
  44. Maintenance Log. 64E-9.004(10). Daily record must be kept for pH and disinfectant residual tested each day the pool is open for use, and weekly for Cyanuric Acid.
  45. Inspection Posted. 64E-9.004(7). Pools requiring membership or admission fee must post the latest DOH pool inspection report in plain view of existing/potential patrons.
  46. Safety-514.0315(2), F.S. 64E-9.008(3)(a) & (10)(c); 64E-9.017(1)(e) & (g). All equipment room anti-entrapment systems shall be installed by a licensed contractor, maintained as functional, tested, reported to DOH on Verification form DH4157, and in compliance with the national anti-entrapment standard cited in section 514.0315(2), F.S. Suction Limiting Vent systems require annual tests; Safety Vacuum Release systems require testing per manufacturer.
  47. Fences/Gates: FBC 454.; 454.1.5.1 & 2. Pools approved after May 2004 code revision shall have a minimum height fence, with no breaches, and with operable self-closing, self-latching gates. Equipment and chlorine gas area fence/gate shall be secure and locked. Wading and specialty pool fences/gates shall be sustained as installed.
  48. Other. Items so marked violate sections of Chapter 64E-9 or FBC not listed above, and are explained in the comments section.

DOH Form 920 - Explanation of Code References

Florida Department of Health Swimming Pools Form 920 Explanation of Code References Artistic Pools


Florida Department of Health Swimming Pools Form 920 Explanation of Code References Artistic Pools
Florida Department of Health Swimming Pools Form 920 Explanation of Code References Artistic Pools

Public Swimming Pools 2016 DOH Inspection Guidance

Which inspection violations will result in a pool closed until fixed?  Which inspection violations will result in an unsatisfactory until fixed?  Which inspection violations will result in an satisfactory even though they still need to be fixed?  The following public swimming pool inspection violation guide categorizes violations as to their potential for harm, or “gravity of the violation” and thus relates directly to the consequent need for formal enforcement action. 


The pool shall be closed until the violation is abated and the owner/operator must notify the CHD-Environmental Health of said abatement by phone text, email or fax upon completion, with notification retained in the DOH file. The pool should be re-inspected by the CHD as necessary.  Mitigations to avoid closure are noted by an asterisk:


  • 1) Water clarity insufficient to readily see main drain grate from wet deck, or severe biological growth
  • 2 or 3) Physical hazard: unsafe wet deck, sharp edged or broken tile, hazardous finish
  • 4) Three or more depth markers are missing or illegible (FBC)
  • 5) Missing, inoperative or is safety-hazard loose: handrail or ladder*(FBC)
  • 6) Over 50% tread length of step edge markers missing or faded to a Munsell Color Value of >6  (FBC)
  • 7) Suction outlet (drain cover) is broken, missing or unsecured. 514.0315(1), FS
  • 8) Injury hazard on exposed broken grate*; Missing skimmer cover on deck* (FBC)
  • 9) Night swimming allowed without sufficient lighting (Close pool at night)
  • 10) Three or more “No Diving” markers in <5’ of water missing or illegible (FBC)
  • 11) Rail over the deck on 1 meter or higher is missing, or board broken, or not secured to deck* (FBC)
  • 14,15,16) Any single missing or inoperable life hook, life ring with rope, or safety line
  • 20) No functional water closet or lavatory restroom fixture
  • 22) Water Free Available Chlorine (FAC) and Bromine: Outdoor pool FAC < 1 or > 10 mg/L; Bromine < 1.5 or > 10 mg/L | Indoor pool FAC < 1 or > 5 mg/L; Bromine < 1.5 or > 6 mg/L | Spa pool and IWFs FAC < 2 or > 10 mg/L; Bromine < 3 or > 10 mg/L
  • Water pH < 7.2 or pH > 7.8 for all pools
  • 28) Disinfection equipment inoperable or missing
  • 30) Container mislabeled or not labeled* (FBC)
  • 31) Recirculation filter or pump equipment inoperable or missing
  • 32) Plug or cover for vacuum port missing, or cover broken* (FBC)
  • 46) Entrapment safety feature (SVRS or SLV) controlling the suction pump does not function as designed, as determined by testing of device conducted by a qualified technician or other person as allowed for by the device manufacturer’s instructions. 514.0315(2), FS
  • 37 or 48) Bacterial or chemical contamination, fecal accident
  • 38) Leaking gas chlorine (FBC)
  • 47) Fence or gate breach, on code mandated enclosure (FBC)
  • 48) Open to patrons when any TYPE A violation is found by the owner/operator; or when DOH permit has been revoked, suspended or denied; or not variance proviso compliant
  • 48) Waterborne disease outbreak without corrective action satisfactory to DOH
  • 48) Drowning (fatal or non-fatal) due to pool facility condition. DOH inspection required
  • 48) Electrical hazard evident visually, by touch, or by incident (FBC ONLY, refer violation by telephone or email)

*Owner/operator can mitigate these violations while DOH inspector is onsite to avoid pool closure: 5- Pools with more than minimum number of ladders or handrails required are OK to remain open with minimum. 8-Remove or replace broken grate; replace cover or cover skimmer hole with heavy obstruction. 11- Make diving board & ladder inaccessible. 30- Write contents onto tank with indelible ink. 32- Replace cover or plug.


The owner/operator must notify the CHD-EH staff when the violation is abated, with notification retained in DOH file. The pool may be re-inspected by the CHD at any time after notice as necessary.  


  • 27) Pool water level is lower than gutter or skimmer such that recirculation is voided
  • 34) Thermometer on spa pool or heated pool inoperable or missing
  • 48) Non-adherence to DOH-approved safety plan for climbable structures


The owner/operator must notify the CHD-EH staff when the violation is abated, with notification retained in DOH file. The pool may be re-inspected by the CHD at any time after notice as necessary.


  • 1) Pool appearance (significant debris, scum, or biological growth)
  • 2 or 3) Deck, curb, or tile repair necessary (injury hazards)
  • 7) Suction outlet (drain cover) exceeds approved 1.5 fps flow, or is past manufacturer’s life replacement time frame. 514.0315(1), FS
  • 17) Pool or spa pool rules sign is not visible or legible from entire wet deck; “NO DIVING” pool rules sign non-compliant, missing or illegible viewed from wet deck
  • 20) Less than full count of mandatory near-pool restroom fixtures are functional
  • 21) Test kit / reagent is unavailable / expired to test daily for halogen or pH
  • 24) Cyanuric acid >100 mg/L for pool or >40 mg/L for spa pool
  • 25) Required ORP / pH controller is inoperable or missing
  • 27) Skimmer grates or weir inoperable or missing; Equipment room water level control mechanism inoperable or missing
  • 29) Required pH feeder is inoperable or missing
  • 31) Design filter flow rate not sustained by over +/-20%
  • 33) Flowmeter inoperable or missing
  • 35) Gauge (1 or more) is inoperable or missing
  • 36) Chemicals stored in pump room
  • 46) Manufactured anti-entrapment safety feature exceeds manufacturer’s testing time frame, is not correctly installed, or DH4157 verification form is not timely delivered to CHD. 514.0315(2), FS
  • 48) No valid permit, or have never applied for permit (application w/in 30 days)



CHD will take enforcement action to close pool only after annual operating permit expires on June 30. As previously outlined in this document, the date of closure must allow for at least 3 months (90 days) after the inspection date that discovered the TYPE E violation.NOTE: Section 514.0115, FS, Exemptions from supervision or regulation; variances. —(7)  The Department may grant variances from any rule adopted under this chapter pursuant to procedures adopted by Department rule. The Department may also grant, pursuant to procedures adopted by Department rule, variances from the provisions of the Florida Building Code specifically pertaining to public swimming pools and bathing places when requested by the pool owner or the pool owner’s representative to relieve hardship in cases involving deviations from the Florida Building Code provisions, when it is shown that the hardship was not caused intentionally by the action of the applicant, where no reasonable alternative exists, and the health and safety of the pool patrons is not at risk.(2)  The Department may not establish by rule any regulation governing the design, alteration, modification, or repair of public swimming pools and bathing places which has no impact on sanitation and safety of persons using public swimming pools and bathing places. Further, the Department may not adopt by rule any regulation governing the construction, erection, or demolition of public swimming pools and bathing places. It is the intent of the Legislature to preempt those functions to the Florida Building Commission through adoption and maintenance of the Florida Building Code. The Department shall provide technical assistance to the commission in updating the construction standards of the Florida Building Code which govern public swimming pools. This subsection does not abrogate the authority of the department to adopt and enforce appropriate sanitary regulations and requirements as authorized in subsection (1).

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