The Division of Environmental Health works to prevent illness for people who swim or play in public pools, spas, or hot tubs by conducting routine inspections, investigating complaints, and providing education opportunities. We offer a seminar for Pool Operators every other year prior to the swim season. Please call the Health Department for course listings.
Public pools are regulated by the Michigan DEQ Public Swimming Pool Monitoring program. Our Environmental Health Sanitarians conduct facility inspections of outdoor pools at least once a season and at least twice a year for indoor pools. Pool Operators must sample their pool for bacteria at least once a week while in operation. Chlorine and Bromine should be tested twice a day with a test kit.
When a pool contamination event occurs the pool should be shocked. Shocking destroys algae, bacteria, chloramines, and human wastes. Follow the disinfectant manufacturer's recommendation for the proper amount of treatment chemical to use.
Use this equation to figure out the volume of your pool:
Rectangular pool: length x width x average depth x 7.5 = volume
Circular pool: diameter x average depth x 5.9 = volume
Recommended Pool Chemistry
Calcium Hardness: 200 ppm – 400ppm
Ideal pH range: 7.4 – 7.6
Chlorine range: 1ppm – 3ppm
Bromine range: 2.0ppm – 4.0ppm
Ideal Alkalinity range: 80ppm – 120ppm
*ppm = parts per million; example: 1oz to 1,000,000oz
Frequently Asked Questions
I was swimming in a pool and a day later I noticed I had a rash. What should I do?
Contact your health care provider first and tell them that you developed a rash after swimming in a pool. They can evaluate the need for treatment to make you well. Contact our office and let us know the name of the pool. We will investigate the incident and attempt to determine the cause of the rash.
I was swimming in a lake and developed what my neighbor called swimmers itch. What should I do?
Contact your health care provider for treatment. Contact our department to report when and where you went swimming.
What is swimmers itch anyway?
Swimmers itch usually refers to a rash caused by a little parasite that burrows under your skin and dies. To avoid the rash, you should shower immediately after leaving the water and towel dry and put on some dry clothes. Try to remove little water droplets before they dry on your skin. The little parasite lives in the water and can survive in a water droplet long enough to burrow under your skin.
Center for Disease Control, FAQ
DEQ Public Swimming Pool Monitoring Program