Department Suspension of Regulations Development for Pools and Aquatic Venues -- Update

Operating Permits

Public swimming pools and spas in Maryland are licensed and inspected by the local health department.  If you have questions regarding a license or an operating inspection please contact your local health department.

Construction, Alteration, and Replacement Permits

A plan for a new public swimming pool or spa, the alteration of a public swimming pool or spa, or the replacement of a component at a public swimming pool or spa must be submitted to the Center for Recreation and Community Environmental Health Services unless the construction, alteration, or replacement will occur within one of the following jurisdictions:  Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, or Prince George's County or Baltimore City.

Pools and spas are required to comply with the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. 

To access the MD Public Pool and Spa Regulations, COMAR 10.17.01, go to www.dsd.state.md.us. On the left side choose “COMAR On Line”. Choose Search Option #3, “Access Through Table Of Contents”. From the Title list, choose: 10 Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Then choose: 10.17.01 Public Pools and Spas. Each regulation is listed separately; choose COMAR 

Public Swimming Pool and Spa Construction Permit

Code of Maryland Regulations, (COMAR) 10.17.01, Public Swimming Pools and Spas

Overview: The Purpose of the Public Swimming Pool and Spa Construction Permit is to establish minimum standards for the equipment and construction of public pools and spas in order to protect public health and safety.


Requirements : A swimming pool and spa contractor must submit complete and detailed plans and specifications for the swimming pool or spa construction. A construction permit is is​sued following approval of plans

A pool piping inspection may be conducted to observe a pressure test prior to the pipes being covered. To ensure the facility is built according to the approved plans, and to observe the circulation and disinfection systems in operation, a final construction inspection is conducted by DHMH. Upon approval of the final construction, the county environmental health department will issue an annual operating permit.

 Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Net​

VGB Aquatic Facility Review Form

Accommodations for Disabled Individuals

Maryland pools and spas regulated by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) are required to comply with disability access laws (COMAR It is the pool or spa owner's responsibility to ensure compliance with disability access laws.

Based on public feedback and discussions with the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, the MDH has simplified the process for owners of public pools and/or spas to document compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The new process simply requires the owner of the pools and/or spas to complete the affidavit, located below, and submit it to the local health department. All owners must submit the ADA affidavit by March 15, 2012, including those owners who previously submitted the ADA questionnaire.

Anyone needing to delay their submission of construction plans still has until September 15, 2012 to submit their plans for compliance and still needs to complete the compliance schedule for more time, located below, and submit it to the local health department by March 15, 2012. Any compliance schedule previously submitted to the Division of Community Services will be forwarded to the appropriate local health department for processing.

Federal ADA compliance requirements are separate from, and do not change, any of MDH's requirements or procedures related to construction permit applications. If a pool or spa requires alterations to come into compliance that would otherwise require a construction permit, the process for submission, review, and approval of that permit application remains the same, regardless of the owner's purpose in commencing construction. DHMH's construction permit review is to ensure that the proposed alterations meet State requirements for pool construction.

Injury and illness prevention 

Pool chemical safety

Chemicals and equipment used to maintain swimming pools and spas and reduce the risk of waterborne illness can cause injuries if they are not properly stored and handled. Public pool operators and residential pool owners can protect themselves and swimmers by taking these key steps: 

  • Read and follow directions on product labels.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals.
  • Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals.
  • Add pool chemicals poolside ONLY when directed by product label and when no one is in the water.
  • Check that all pool equipment is functioning properly and that chlorine and pH levels at the correct levels before allowing swimmers in the water.​

Prevent violent, potentially explosive, reactions:  

  •         NEVER mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid.
  •          Pre-dissolve pool chemicals ONLY when directed by product label.
  •          Add pool chemical to water, NEVER water to pool chemical.​

Fecal and other bodily fluids- accident response information:

Chlorine does not kill germs that cause illness right way, even in properly maintained pools.  When an incident occurs where fecal material (especially diarrhea) enters the water, pool operators must act in order to keep other swimmers from getting sick. There are also steps for pool operators to take for vomiting incidents, spills of other body fluids, and contamination from a swimmer suspected to be infected with Cryptosporidium (Crypto). Crypto is a parasite that causes diarrhea and is especially resistant to chlorine. These links contain guidance from CDC on how to respond to each type of incident.