Safer Pools, Healthier People
The Environmental Health Division, working collaboratively in partnership with local pool management companies, has made Alexandria’s public swimming venues much safer. Over the last five fiscal years, the number of pools and spas that the Alexandria Health Department has had to temporarily close due to imminent public health threats has been reduced by 97%! In FY08, 68 pools and spas were temporarily closed because of imminent health threats; in FY13, there were only two. Imminent public health threats include issues such as no chlorine in the pool, no certified lifeguard on duty, or an entrapment hazard such as a missing drain cover.
Aquatic Health Program
Our mission is to protect the health and safety of the patrons at Alexandria’s public and semi-public pools, spas and water parks. Public pools and spas include those located at hotels, parks, recreation centers, water parks and fitness centers. Semi-public pools include those located at apartment complexes and condominiums. More>>
Return to alexandriava.gov/EnvironmentalHealth
About the Aquatic Health Program
The Environmental Health Division regulates and evaluates (inspects) approximately 140 aquatic facilities in the city. About 125 of these facilities are outdoor pools or spas that operate only during the summer season. Unannounced evaluations of these facilities are conducted approximately every two weeks. The remaining aquatic facilities operate year-round and are evaluated monthly.
These evaluations assure that pools and spas are properly maintained, are free from safety hazards, and have water that has been properly disinfected. Certified lifeguards and licensed pool operators are required at all public or semi-public pools. Construction plans for new and remodeled aquatic facilities are reviewed to ensure proper construction to meet health requirements.
- Permit Section has more information on how to obtain a permit.
- Contact Us section has more information on how to speak to someone about the Aquatic Health Program.
Telephone: 703.746.4910 (main line); 703.746.4868 (technical or plan review questions)
Office Address: 4480 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302
Office Hours: 8 am to 4:30 pm M-W and F, and 1 pm to 4:30 pm Th
For alerts and new updates for this program, create an eNews account at https://enews.alexandriava.gov and subscribe to our Pool & Spa Safety for Businesses group. You can get updates sent to your email, phone, pager, or all three.
Code and Regulations Governing Aquatic Facilities
- Aquatic Health Ordinance (.pdf)
- CDC Fecal Accident Response Recommendations (.pdf)
- The EH Manager's February 2008 letter (.pdf) adopting the CDC recommendations.
- Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act text is available at www.cpsc.gov/pssa.pdf.
- Local requirements for Single Family Homes: The Alexandria Health Department no longer regulates pools or spa located at private, single family homes EXCEPT if the location is also a day care or child care facility. If the location also serves as a day care or child care facility, an aquatic facility permit may be required. Call the Aquatic Health Program at 703.746.4910 for more information.
Forms, Applications, and Guides
Below is a list of our frequently requested forms, applications, and guides for aquatic facilities.
*Permit Section has more information on how to obtain a permit.
Is this list missing anything? Let us know what else you want to see here.
Notices of Violation (Civil Penalties)
If your facility has been issued a civil penalty for non-compliance of a City of Alexandria Code, the back of your Notices of Violation (click here to see a PDF example) will explain what your next steps should be. A Notices of Violation (NoV) has been referred to as a 'ticket' in previous years.
How to Pay: All NoV payments must be sent, with the white copy, to the Treasury at City Hall at 301 King Street, as per the instructions on the back of the form. Do not forget to fill out the back of the NoV before you send it. NEVER send your payment to the Health Department; the Health Department cannot process it.
Contesting the Violation: If you would like to contest the violation, you must make your objection in writing to the Health Director within ten (10) calendar days of the violation's issuance. For more information about this process, please review the back of the Notices of Violation and then contact our office.
Licensed Pool Operators
During the pool’s hours of operation, at least one person on the premises of each aquatic facility shall hold a licensed pool operator card. This photo identification card is proof that the operator has passed the approved exam within the last three years. Operators must present this card to the Health Department during routine assessments, and the card can only be obtained by individuals sixteen (16) years of age or older.
The Health Department does not require pool operators to attend formal training prior to taking the exam; however, training is strongly recommended. The Health Department does not maintain a list of recommended instructors or organizations that provide pool operator training.
The Alexandria and Fairfax County Health Departments have contracted with the Swimming Pool and Spa Association™ (SPSA) at www.poolandspaassociation.com to proctor the pool operator exam. The exam is fifty (50) questions and costs $75 per attempt. The cost of the licensed pool operators card is included in the exam fee.
Testing Locations & Hours
Prospective pool operators can take an approved exam at several SPSA testing sites. The times, locations, and availability can vary by season, so pool operators should call 703.829.3391 or visit the SPSA’s website at http://poolandspaassociation.com/exam_info.htm for more information. In most cases, individuals do not need to make a reservation to take an exam. However, groups of three or more individuals should make reservations either by going on online at www.supersaas.com/schedule/SPSA or by calling in advanced.
Pool & Spa Evaluations
The Environmental Health field staff conduct different types of evaluations, including: routine, complaint, follow-up, and pre-openings. With the exception of the pre-openings, all evaluations are unannounced. Routine evaluations for aquatic facilities occur every two to four weeks, and complaint and follow-up evaluations occur on an as-needed basis. Pre-opening evaluations occur by appointment only, and only when an aquatic facility prepares to open for the for the first time, after construction or renovation, or before a seasonal pool re-opens for the spring season. After an evaluation is conducted, the EHS will leave a report with the pool operator onsite.
Pool Management Companies
Pool management companies that operate an aquatic facility on behalf of its owner must be licensed by the Environmental Health Division. Pool owners, including facilities that are owner-operated, are not required to be licensed. All others must complete an application and return it with the annual fee (.pdf).
Reports and Data
Information commonly requested from our department is now available on this website. Other information, data, or reports can be obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA). Visit alexandriava.gov/FOIA for more information.
Permits and Licenses:
End of Season Letters: At the end of each August, seasonal facility owners are mailed an end of season letter notating all deficiencies observed at their facility. These deficiencies must be resolved before the facility attempts to open for the following pool season. A copy of this letter is also mailed to the pool management company who was responsible for the pool during that season.
Evaluations: recent evaluations are available from alexandriava.gov/foia.
Aquatic Health Newsletter
- The Lifeline, August 2012 - Is Your Pool Green?, Common End of Season Issues, Imagine Life Without Soap
- The Lifeline, July 2012 - Eliminating Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards, Notes on Using Cyanuric Acid, Proper Care of the Water Test Kit
- The Lifeline, June 2012 - This issue introduces our EHS staff
- The Lifeline, July 2011 - This issue provides guidance on turnover rates and flow meters, recent main drain cover recalls, and City of Alexandria's receipt of the 2011 Neil Lowry Memorial Award.
- The Lifeline, June 2011 - This issue introduces our EHS staff, provides guidance on water quality placards and record keeping and guidance on proper disinfectant levels and water balance.
- The Lifeline, August 2010 - This issue discusses maintenance and operations, the ideal pool operator, and information about our customer service survey.
- The Lifeline, July 2010 - This issue discusses bathhouses and Notice of Violations.
- The Lifeline, June 2010 - This issue discusses the seasonal summer EHSs, certification requirements for pool operators, and appropriate disinfectant levels.