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Environmental Health

Water Quality: Swimming Pools and Spas

The San Francisco Health Code requires all public pools and spa pools to be licensed and have a valid Permit to Operate. The Department of Public Health Swimming Pool Program ensures that all public swimming pools and spas are properly constructed and operated in a safe and sanitary manner.

Permits for Existing Swimming Pools or Spa Pools

When you take ownership of an existing swimming pool or spa pool, the Permit to Operate is not transferable. You must obtain a Permit to Operate in the name of the new ownership and pay for a license certificate from the San Francisco Tax Collector's office. Any changes (except for replacing equipment with the same manufacture, make, model, size), to an existing pool must be done with the Health Department's review and approval prior to beginning such work. To obtain a Permit to Operate for an existing pool, submit:

  1. An application for a Permit to Operate a Public Swimming Pool or Spa Pool (pdf)
  2. Make a one-time only application fee by check or money order made payable to the SF Department of Public Health

If the pool/spa complies with all health and safety standards and requirements, the Permit to Operate will be approved. The San Francisco Tax Collector's office will be notified and will bill the applicant for a pro-rated amount of the annual license fee.

Permits for New Swimming Pools and Spas

For all newly constructed swimming pools and spas, submit the following application materials to the address below.

  1. An application for a Permit to Operate a Public Swimming Pool or Spa Pool (pdf)
  2. Make a one-time only application fee by check or money order made payable to the SF Department of Public Health
  3. Detailed construction plans. See the Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Construction Guidelines for information required to be submitted on drawings.
  4. Pool/Spa Data Sheet

The above submittals will be reviewed and approved by the Department of Public Health. During construction, contact this office to schedule site inspections prior to gunniting, plastering, covering/backfilling any piping, or placing the pool into operation.

For application fee information, please refer to the Fee Schedule in the Helpful Links. All pool permit applications and materials, regardless of whether it is new or existing, should be submitted to:

  • Environmental Health Section
  • Attn: Water Quality Health Inspector
  • 1390 Market Street, Suite 210
  • San Francisco, CA 94102

Related Agency

Department of Public Works - For construction of a new pool or spa, it is necessary to obtain building, plumbing and electrical permits from the Department of Public Works.