With the warm summer we are experiencing, a pool is certainly a hot amenity to have in a condominium building. New regulations governing the operation and maintenance of pools (including pools in condos) came into effect on July 1st, 2018. Indeed, condo pools in Ontario are considered public pools and are regulated under the Health Protection and Promotion Act [the “HPPA”] if the corporation has six (6) or more dwelling units, suites or single-family private residences. As such, condominium directors and property managers should be aware of the new requirements.
The following is only an overview of some of the important points to keep in mind when operating a condominium pool.
Condo corporation with six (6) or more units who operate a pool must designate a pool operator who must be trained in public pool operation and maintenance, filtration systems, water chemistry and all relevant safety and emergency procedures.
The condominium corporation and the pool operator must, namely:
- maintain the public pool and its equipment in a safe and sanitary condition;
- maintain in proper working all components of the pool;
- ensure that all surfaces of the pool deck and walls are maintained in a sanitary condition and free from potential hazards;
- ensure that carpeting or other water-retentive material is not installed or used in any area that becomes or may become wet during the daily use period of the pool or spa;
- ensure that the perimeter of the pool deck are clearly delineated by painted lines or other means where any area contiguous to the pool or spa deck may be confused with the deck;
- ensure that provisions are made for the safe storage and handling of all chemicals required in the operation of the pool or spa;
- maintain any footsprays in good working order and in a sanitary condition;
- ensure that the submerged surfaces of the pool are white or light in colour, except for markings for safety or competition purposes;
- ensure the perimeter drain of the pool is kept free of debris;
- ensure that any diving board or platform has a non-slip surface finish;
- ensure that a black disc 150 millimetres in diameter on a white background is affixed to the bottom of the pool at its deepest point; and
- ensure that any exposed piping within the pool enclosure, inside the structure of the pool and inside appurtenant structures to the pool are identified by the prescribed color.
With respect to the quality of the water, under the new regulations, every owner and every operator of a public pool must, namely:
- ensure that the clean water and the make-up water are free from contamination that may be injurious to the health of the bathers;
- ensure that the pool water and its circulation system is separate from the potable water supply and from the sewer or drainage system
- ensure that the pool water is maintained free from visible matter that may be hazardous to the health or safety of the bathers;
- ensure that the pool water is of a clarity to permit the black disc located on the bottom of the pool at its deepest point to be clearly visible from a point on the deck nine metres away from the disc;
- ensure that the pool water is treated with chlorine, a chlorine compound or a bromine compound by means of a chemical feeder, and is maintained so that in every part of the pool at all times during the daily use period met the prescribed requirements;
- as prescribed by the regulation, test and record the pool water each operating day, by means of manual test methods, a minimum of 30 minutes prior to opening;
- where the pool has an automatic sensing device, further test and record the pool water at least every four (4) hours until the daily use period has ended; for pools without an automatic sensing device, further manually test and record the pool water at least every two (2) hours until the daily use period has ended; and
- add make-up water to the pool during each operating day as prescribed by the regulation.
In addition to the foregoing obligations, the regulations specifically provide that the owner and operator of a public pool must ensure that the pool, the deck and, where provided, the dressing and locker rooms, water closets, showers and connecting corridors appurtenant to the pool or spa are,
- kept clean, free from slipperiness and disinfected;
- free of hazardous obstructions;
- ventilated so as to remove odours; and
- where water closets are provided, that they are supplied with toilet paper.
Finally, every pool operator must keep and sign daily records that shall set out, in relation to each operating day,
- the estimated number of bather uses during the operating day;
- the reading of the make-up water meter for pools and, if applicable, for spas, as of the end of the day;
- any emergencies, rescues or breakdowns of equipment that have occurred;
- the time of day the emergency stop button test, where applicable, was performed;
- the results of the prescribed tests mentioned above;
- the results of the daily testing of the telephone to confirm that it is in operating condition; and
- the type and amount of chemicals added manually to the pool or spa.
The foregoing records must be retained for a period of one (1) year from the date of making the record and must be kept available for viewing by a medical officer of health or a public health inspector at any time. Interestingly, our reading of the regulation seems to indicate that the record retention obligation is imposed on the pool operator and not on the owner. However, we encourage condominium corporations who have a copy of such records to keep and maintain them in accordance with the Condominium Act, which imposes longer retention obligations in general.
For more information, please consult Regulation 565: Public Pools.