Public Swimming Pools
Water-based physical activity, such as swimming, improves physical and mental health throughout life; however, it can put people at risk for recreational water–associated illness and injury. Code enforcement through inspections of public aquatic facilities is an important tool in keeping Tulsa County residents healthy.
Pool Operator Permit Training Courses
Anyone operating a commercial pool in Tulsa or Broken Arrow must be certified through courses offered by the Tulsa Health Department. Those operating pools outside these city limits are strongly encouraged to attend.
Five-year certifications can be received through three avenues:
- Attend a THD class and pass a test.
- Experienced operators may take a challenge test, given on class days only. Passing provides a five-year permit; failing requires attending a THD class.
- Proof of current certification from a nationally recognized organization.
Registration for THD Course
Registration is required for this course. Please call 918-595-4200 or email EHSD@tulsa-health.org to register. The fee is $40.00 per person and must be paid in advance. No personal checks will be accepted. Seating is limited to the first 40 to register.
2023 THD Training Course Dates
All classes are held at the James O. Goodwin Health Center, 5051 S 129th E Ave, Tulsa, OK 74134, in the Auditorium from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
- Mon, March 27
- Wed, April 19
- Wed, May 17
- Wed, June 7
THD Course Content
- Swimming pool calculations
- Circulation systems
- Water balance
- Chemical use, dosage and safety
- Preventative maintenance
- Inspection Review
For more information, please call 918-595-4200, or click to view the following helpful manuals:
- Pool Operators Permit Instruction Manual
- Chapter 315: Public Bathing Facility Standards
- Chapter 320: Public Bathing Place Operational Regulations
Virginia Graeme Baker Act
By December 19, 2008, ALL public pools and spas that operate year round, and before opening in 2009, ALL public pools and spas that operate seasonally, must:
- Install drain covers that meet the ANSI/ASME A112.19.8-2007 standard on EVERY drain grate. A list of cover manufacturers can be found at www.cpsc.gov.
- Install an automatic shut-off system, gravity drainage system, Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), suction-limiting vent system if the pool operates off of a SINGLE main drain. Pools and spas with UNBLOCKABLE drains are exempt from this requirement. A list of SVRS manufacturers can be found atwww.cpsc.gov/whatsnew.html#pool.
- Ensure that dual or multiple drains are at least 3 feet apart from center to center.
If you have any further questions, please contact us at 918-595-4328, or at email@example.com.
Effective November 1, 2010, the Oklahoma state statute changed excluding splash pads from licensure. Therefore, THD will no longer inspect or license splash pads. Swallowing water in interactive fountains, splash pads, and spray parks might make you sick. View an infographic for tips on staying safe at splash pads and interactive water fountains.
Americans With Disabilities Act
By January of 2013 certain public pools and spas will be required to provide handicap access. To get further information or to see if you are required to provide this access go to www.access-board.gov.
What is pH?
pH is a value that identifies how acidic or basic a solution is. pH is important for vessel and equipment protection, swimmer comfort and sanitizer effectiveness. The acceptable pH range is 7.2 to 7.8. Soda ash is used to raise pH; acid is used to lower it. Always test and adjust total alkalinity before testing and adjusting pH.
What is total alkalinity?
Total alkalinity is a measure of resistance to change of pH (buffering or acid neutralizing capacity of the water). The correct total alkalinity helps maintain pH. The acceptable range is 80ppm to 200ppm. Sodium bicarbonate is used to raise the total alkalinity; acid is used to lower it.
What is calcium hardness?
The measure of how much calcium and magnesium that is dissolved in water is calcium hardness. The acceptable range is 50ppm to 500ppm. Calcium chloride is used to raise the calcium hardness and fresh water is used to lower the calcium hardness.
What is water balance?
Water that causes no damage is balanced. Water that corrodes (eats away) or water that causes scale (build up) is unbalanced.
How do I check my water?
A test kit can be obtained from professional pool establishments in the Tulsa area. They will also test your water if you bring in a sample. A DPD test kit is required for commercial pools.
What type of chlorine should I use?
There are two types of chlorine: Unstabilized chlorines such as calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite, and chlorine gas have no cyanuric acid. Stabilized chlorines such as Sodium dichlor and trichlor have cyanuric acid. Cyanuric acid acts as a sunscreen to keep the chlorine from burning off as fast. Commercial pools are required to use chlorine. Consult your pool professional to help you decide what type of chlorine is right for you.
What do I do if my pool is green?
When a pool is green it needs to be shocked to eliminate algae. Shocking the pool entails adding calcium hypochlorite to reach break point chlorination. Consult your pool professional when you have an algae problem. There are different types of algae (mustard, black, green). They each require different types of treatment.
If I go to a pool, how do I know the water is safe?
It's hard to know. If the water is clear and doesn't smell foul, then it is generally safe. If the main drain in the bottom of the pool isn't clearly visible, do not get in. Ask to see the daily test records if you are at a commercial facility and have some doubts. Always use your best judgment. If you are at a public pool, and are concerned, you can call the THD at (918) 595-4200.
What other safety issues should I look for?
Always check to make sure the main drain is secure, especially in hot tubs and wading pools. Look for easily accessible life-saving equipment and an organized, clean environment. Always use your best judgment.
What should take place if a fecal accident occurs in the pool?
If it is a contained formed stool and there is an acceptable chlorine level of 1 to 5 ppm:
- Pool should be cleared immediately.
- All physical fecal matter should be removed from the pool.
- Chlorine should be added to the affected area (either 1 ounce calcium hypochlorite or 5 ounces of sodium hypochlorite which has been mixed in a small bucket of water).
- Approximately thirty minutes later, patrons could be allowed to re-enter the pool as long as the pH and chlorine levels are acceptable.
If it is a watery fecal stool or vomit:
- Immediately clear the pool.
- Remove all physical fecal or vomitus matter.
- The chlorine level should be raised to 20 ppm and the pH should be maintained between 7.2 to 7.8 for eight hours.
- The filter should be backwashed.
- Patrons can then re-enter the pool once the chlorine and pH level is acceptable.