Recreational water: frequently asked questions
Inspection information is available online. Check Before You Go!
What is a recreational water facility?
Regulated recreational water facilities include public pools and public spas.
A public pool means a structure, basin, chamber or tank containing, or intended to contain, an artificial body of water for swimming, water sport, water recreation or entertainment.
It does not include:
- one that is located on a private residential property (for example a backyard pool)
- pools that are used solely for commercial display and demonstration purposes.
A class “A” pool is:
- one in which the general public is admitted
- operated in conjunction with, or as a part of an educational, instructional, physical fitness or athletic institutions or associations supported in whole or in part by public funds or public subscription
- operated on the premises of a recreational camp, for use by campers and their visitors and camp personnel
A class “B” pool is:
- operated on the premises of an apartment building that contains more than five dwelling units or suites, or a mobile home, for the use of the occupants and their visitors
- operated as a facility to serve a community of more than five single-family private residences, for the use of the residents and their visitors
- operated on the premises of a hotel, for the use of its guests and their visitors
- operated on the premises of a campground, for the use of its tenants and their visitors
- operated in conjunction with a club, for the use of its members and their visitors, or a condominium, co-operative or commune property that contains more than five dwelling units or suites, for the use of the owners or members and their visitors
- operated in conjunction with a child care centre, a day camp or an establishment for the care or treatment of persons who have special needs, for the use of such persons and their visitors
- one other than a Class A pool, that is not exempt from the provisions of the Public Pools Regulation
A public spa means a hydro-massage pool containing an artificial body of water that is intended primarily for therapeutic or recreational use, that is not drained, cleaned or refilled before use by each individual and that utilizes hydrojet circulation, air induction bubbles, current flow or a combination of them over the majority of the pool area. It does not include private home spas.
Is inspection and enforcement information available online for public pools and spas?
Check Before You Go! has information about required and follow-up inspections, complaints, infractions, convictions, as well as orders imposed by Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
Errors or omissions in results posted online:
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts makes every effort to ensure that inspection results available online are accurate and up-to-date. Please report potential errors or omissions to us online or call 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
Who inspects public pools and spas?
Public health inspectors routinely inspect all recreational water facilities such as public pools and spas. These premises are inspected to ensure compliance with the Public Pools Regulation.
How often are public pools and spas inspected?
Public pools and spas are inspected:
- Once prior to opening or reopening after construction, alteration or closure of more than four weeks duration.
- Once every three months for those facilities that operate year round.
- Two times a year for those facilities that are open only part of the year and at least once for those facilities that are open for a short period of time (i.e., less than 4 weeks).
Public health inspectors conduct additional inspections for many reasons:
- to follow-up on an any problems that were found during a routine inspection
- to investigate complaints and / or reports of illness, injury or death
- to monitor the safety of the facilities which may include the taking of follow-up water samples
What if a public pool or spa is non-compliant?
Public health inspectors closely work with owners and operators to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. When this is not possible or when there is an imminent risk to public health, public health inspectors will issue orders under the authority of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) to address these issues.
Public health inspectors cannot issue tickets to owners or operators of a public pool or spa.
What are examples where you may close a public pool or spa?
Criteria for closing a public pool or spa
A public pool or spa is subject to immediate closure by a public health inspector when any of the following conditions are observed:
- the pool or spa is not made inaccessible when closed
- water clarity is poor or the black disc is not available or visible (pools only)
- fouling of the water (for example the presence or feces, vomit, or blood)
- the filtration or circulation system is not operating properly or is malfunctioning
- the drain cover or fittings are missing, loose or not in good repair
- safety equipment is missing, malfunctioning, or not in good repair
- disinfectant is not detected or is at levels that are too high and may adversely affect the bather
- qualified lifeguard is not available where applicable
- emergency stop button does not deactivate all pumps when activated (spa only)
- vacuum relief mechanism is inoperable (spa only)
How can you report unsafe conditions at a public pool or spa?
File a report with us online or call us at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) if you:
- See unsafe or questionable practices at a public pool or spa
- Think you became infected after visiting a public pool or spa
- Became injured after visiting a public pool or spa
How can you learn more about the recreational water program?
To learn more about the recreational water program, contact a public health inspector at 705.522.9200, ext. 398 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
This item was last modified on July 20, 2018