Environmental Health Officers monitor Vancouver Island’s popular public beaches and assess and inspect public/commercial swimming pools, and hot tubs, for compliance with health standards and for the health and safety of you and your family.
Each summer, Environmental Health Officers take water samples at popular beach areas. Beach advisories are posted where monitoring has shown swimming is not recommended due to poor water quality.
Constructing a Pool?
Under the BC Pool Regulation, any person constructing a pool (Public, Commercial, Hot tub, Wading, or Spray) must first apply for and receive a construction permit. To apply for a construction permit, an application accompanied by the plans and specifications, sealed and certified by an engineer or architect, must be submitted to the local health protection office.
Submission must include:
- Application for Pool Construction Permit (pdf) for each pool, including the Owner’s Confirmation of Commitment, Pool Information Sheet, and Health Hazard Related Design Parameter Checklist; and
- Two complete sets of construction plans and specifications, sealed and certified by an architect or engineer.
In order to open a pool to the public, an operating permit must be issued by an Environmental Health Officer. To apply for an operating permit, an Application for a Recreational Water Facility (pdf) form must be completed and submitted to the local health protection office. The Environmental Health Officer will conduct an initial inspection and, if satisfied that the operation of the pool will not likely constitute a health hazard, issue an operating permit.
Please keep in mind that a permit to operate is not transferable. If you are the new owner or operator of a pool, you must apply for a new permit and must not operate the pool until a permit has been issued to you.
Recreational Water Facility’s Inspection Reports
Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) inspect public and commercial pools, hot tubs, spray pools and wading pools (referred to collectively as ‘pools’) to assess compliance with the Public Health Act Pool Regulation. The regulation requires operators to maintain a safe and sanitary environment in and around the pool and throughout the surrounding facilities to protect public health and prevent injury.
The Hazard Rating typically represents the relative level or degree of hazard associated with a pool, as determined by an EHO after conducting an inspection. An EHO may alter the Hazard Rating based on a poor compliance history or other risk factor associated with the pool or with the operator.
In general, the Hazard Rating describes the condition of a pool at the time of inspection as follows:
Low: No critical violations were found and there is a low probability of risk to pool patrons. The operator demonstrates an understanding of any identified or potential hazard as well as a willingness to comply fully with the legislation.
Moderate: One or more critical violations or a combination of non-critical violations were observed that may put pool patrons at risk of injury or disease. The operator demonstrates an understanding of the identified hazards and shows a willingness to make any necessary improvements that will bring the facility into compliance.
High: The EHO observed critical violations, or a combination of critical and non-critical violations, which put pool patrons at significant risk of injury or disease. Further, the operator may not demonstrate an understanding of identified hazards, and there may or may not be a willingness to comply. The file may demonstrate a pattern of historical non-compliance, complaints or illness/injury investigations implicating the facility.
Whenever a moderate or high hazard rating is assigned, the EHO will direct the pool operator to control the associated risk to pool patrons in a timely manner. If necessary, the EHO will close the pool until it can be used safely. Long term improvements must be implemented to facilitate ongoing compliance with the legislation and with industry expectations regarding safe pool water disinfection and treatment, injury prevention and sanitation practises.