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Environmental Health Specialist testing swimming pool water


Swimming pools can be the source of many diseases and injuries, such as Giardia, Cryptosporidia, and E. coli as well as slips, falls, and accidental entrapment. The purpose of the Department of Environmental Health Food and Housing Division (FHD) Pool program is to assure that all public swimming pools and spas are maintained in a safe and healthful condition. In light of these considerations, the proper construction, maintenance, and operation of public swimming pools and spas is of significant public health importance.

FHD has approximately 4,000 public pools and spas under permit, including those located in apartments, hotels, parks, health clubs, bathhouses, and other health-regulated recreational establishments.  These pools are inspected by environmental health specialists to identify problems, list violations of the CA Health and Safety Code, and provide written notification of necessary corrections. Click here to watch a San Diego County Swimming Pool Inspection Walk-through.


In addition to inspections, FHD partners with the pool industry and other organizations to sponsor educational opportunities and provide other resources. Every other spring, FHD co-sponsors a one-day pool seminar for the pool industry to provide ongoing education.  FHD is partnered with the community-based Drowning Prevention Foundation to raise awareness about ways to prevent drownings. A short public service announcement called "Watching Amy" highlights the importance of adequate pool supervision and layers of protection in preventing childhood drownings. Each May, FHD participates in Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week, in association with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), to educate the public about the spread of recreational water illnesses. "Keeping It Clean", a County Television Network video, showcases our pool inspection program. Be sure to watch this video, "Checking Public Pools for Safer Drains",  to learn more about the new state law, AB 1020, which requires public pool operators to install anti-entrapment drain covers and safety systems.


The Swimming Pool Operator Guide provides specific information to assist the layman in the proper maintenance and operation of pool and spas. This and other valuable swimming pool and spa related information is provided on our Pool Publications page. 

Simple steps that help save lives at a pool or spa: Pool Safely Educational Video (Piscina Segura Video Educativo). 

To stay informed about swimming pool safety issues, subscribe to receive free E-mail Updates on our DEH home page, enter your e-mail information, then select the topic Water: Swimming Pool Safety.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about our pool program, please call the FHD Duty Specialist at (858) 505-6900 or e-mail   To report a problem with a public pool or spa, please call our FHD Complaint Desk at (858) 505-6903.


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