All public bathing facilities (swimming pools and bathing beaches) in Suffolk County are required to apply for an operating permit and must comply with all applicable sections of the New York State Sanitary Code, including Subpart 6-1 (swimming pools) and Subpart 6-2 (bathing beaches), in addition to Article 16 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code that regulates recreational facilities.
Code requirements include (but are not limited to) maintaining adequate bathing water quality, providing a level of lifeguard protection pertinent to the facility type, having necessary safety equipment available, maintaining sanitary conditions in bathhouses and toilet facilities, and meeting various lighting, fencing, ventilation, and electrical requirements. Operators are additionally required to draft, routinely update, and implement a facility safety plan that specifies how emergencies are handled.
The codes mentioned above, in addition to various fact sheets prepared by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the SCDHS, are available to be printed or downloaded from the Documents and Forms page.
Pre-printed permit applications and instructions can be obtained by contacting at the following numbers:
For Swimming Pools: (631) 854-2525; For Bathing Beaches: (631) 852-5760.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the water quality at bathing beaches tested by the Health Department?
Bacteriological water quality is monitored throughout the summer at all bathing beaches. Sampling is concentrated in areas that have demonstrated suspect water quality in the past, including inland lakes, north shore harbors, and along the northern shoreline of Great South Bay. If the results of samples collected exceed state standards, bathing is suspended until such time as additional samples show the water quality to have improved.
How do I find out if the water quality at my beach is acceptable?
An interactive map-based application that uses colored flags to depict beaches that are either OPEN (have acceptable water quality-green flag), UNDER ADVISORY (bathing is restricted due to a temporary condition-yellow flag) or CLOSED (bathing is prohibited due to unacceptable water quality-red flag), can be accessed here: Bathing Beach Advisories and Closures
What Lifeguard and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certifications are acceptable at swimming pools and bathing beaches in Suffolk County?
The New York State Department of Health annually produces fact sheets listing the lifeguard and CPR certifications that are currently acceptable at pool and beaches in the state. Copies can be obtained by contacting us at the above phone numbers, or via download on the Documents and Forms page.
Where can I locate a lifeguard for my facility?
In Suffolk County, lifeguards may receive training from a variety of agencies, including town recreation departments, YMCAs, the Suffolk County Department of Parks, or high school districts that have bathing facilities. Contact these agencies for lists of successful candidates that may be looking for employment.
What lifesaving equipment is required at swimming pools and bathing beaches in Suffolk County?
References to required lifesaving equipment can be found in §6-1.23 (b) and §6-2.17 (b) of the State Sanitary Codes for swimming pools and bathing beaches, respectively. Factsheets prepared by the department are also available on the Documents and Forms page.
Is my swimming pool required to have a certified operator?
Every swimming pool at a recreational facility in Suffolk County must be under the supervision of at least one individual possessing certification as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). A CPO associated with a homeowners association, condominium or cooperative, as defined in §6-1.2(o) of the State Sanitary Code, must be an employee or full-time resident of the association, condominium or cooperative, but need not be on-site at all times of pool operation. Additional information on CPOs and available certification courses is available on the Documents and Forms page.
What levels of pH and disinfectant are required at swimming pools and hot tubs (spas) in Suffolk County?
References to disinfection with chlorine and bromine can be found in the State Sanitary Code §6-1.25 (c). A fact sheet prepared by this department that summarizes acceptable chlorine, bromine and pH levels can be found on the Documents and Forms page.
What signs do I need at my swimming pool?
A number of signs are required at swimming pools, including those that address pool capacity, diving restrictions, water depths, and hours of operation. A summary of the various signs required to be posted can be found on the Documents and Forms
Are there specific requirements for ventilation at indoor pools?
A fact sheet describing indoor swimming pool ventilation requirements can be found on the Documents and Forms page.
How can I obtain blank forms needed for the operation of my swimming pool or bathing beach?
A list of commonly requested forms utilized in the operation of a swimming pool or bathing beach can be downloaded from the Documents and Forms page or by calling the phone numbers listed above.
Will the Health Department inspect my pool/beach?
Each pool and beach facility in Suffolk County is inspected at least annually with follow-up inspections performed as necessary.
What happens if violations are found during an inspection?
If upon inspection, violations that are considered to be "public health hazards" are found, and they cannot be immediately corrected, the facility is closed to bathing until such time that compliance can be demonstrated. All public health hazard violations are subsequently addressed in formal proceedings. Minor violations are dealt with on a more informal basis, but must be corrected before the next regularly scheduled inspection.
If I have a concern or complaint about a swimming pool or bathing beach in Suffolk County where can I go for help?
Complaints and Concerns about Swimming Pools should be directed to the Swimming Pool division at (631) 854-2525. Complaints and Concerns about Bathing Beaches should be directed to the Bathing Beaches division at (631) 852-5760.
If you are concerned about a stagnant backyard swimming pool please call (631) 853-3074.
ALL COMPLAINTS ARE HELD IN THE STRICTEST CONFIDENCE.
What should I do if fecal material is released into my swimming pool?
The recommended procedure for handling fecal releases into swimming pools involves first removing patrons from the pool, attempting then to remove the offending material, followed by disinfections of the water through super-chlorination. See the factsheet on this topic on the Documents and Forms page.
How do I report an injury or illness at a swimming pool or bathing beach in Suffolk County?
Injuries or illnesses that occur at regulated swimming pools and bathing beaches in Suffolk County should immediately be reported to the appropriate office divisions, both by telephone and in writing using the Injury and Illness form that can be downloaded from the Documents and Forms page. For Swimming Pool related injuries and illness, please call at (631) 854-2525. For Bathing Beaches related injuries and illness, please call at (631) 852-5760.
I want to build a Public Swimming Pool, do I need a permit?
Yes, the following must be submitted to obtain approval to construct a public pool (contact the Bureau of Environmental Engineering at (631) 854-2540 for the appropriate forms):
- Application for Approval of Plans and Specifications for the Construction of, or Alterations to, a Swimming Pool and Appurtenances (Form HM 134SC).
- Engineering Report for Swimming Pool Plans (Form DOH-139)
- Complete Set of Engineering Plans with construction details and equipment specifications.
- The appropriate fee in accordance with the official SCDHS fee schedule
Related forms can be found in the Documents and Forms page.
What do the plans have to show?
The plans must show all the necessary details as enumerated in Subpart 6-1, Swimming Pools. Some of the details required are the size of the pool, the volume of water, the turnover rate, the safety equipment, etc.
How many inspections are required?
Two inspections are required. A piping inspection is required before the piping trenches can be backfilled. A certification inspection is required when the pool is ready to be placed into service. All items must conform to the previously approved plans.
What certifications are needed for final approval?
Two certifications are needed before the pool can be certified for use, including:
- The Construction Compliance Certificate. This certificate must be prepared and signed by a professional engineer or architect licensed to practice in New York State.
- The UL (Underwriters Laboratories) Certificate for the electrical work performed.
After I have passed the Certification Inspection can the pool be placed into service?
No, the Swimming Pool division must be contacted at (631) 854-2525. They will issue the Annual Operating Permit, which will allow the facility to use the pool.
If I make changes to a Public Swimming Pool do I need to submit plans?
Yes. However, if the changes are minor, a letter outlining the changes may be sufficient. Contact the Swimming Pool division at (631) 854-2525 for more information.