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Insight from WFPD: Know the rules as they relate to pools

Did you know that if your swimming pool has a circulating pump and is more than two feet deep it needs to be enclosed in a secured fence? Did you know it is your responsibility to keep your pool clean and sanitary? Did you know there may be an annual fee associated with owning a pool? The below listed sections from West Fargo Ordinance can assist you in ensuring you are in compliance.

15-0401. Definitions.

1. "Family Pool" shall mean a swimming pool used or intended to be used solely by the owner, operator or lessee thereof and his family, and by friends invited to use it without payment of any fee.

3. "Permanent Swimming Pool" shall mean any pool with a re-circulation system exceeding two feet (60 centimeters) in depth.

6. "Residential Pool" shall mean an indoor or outdoor swimming pool located on private property under the control of the owner and used or intended to be used solely by the owner, operator or lessee thereof and his family, and by friends invited to use it without payment of any fee.

9. "Swimming Pool" shall mean an indoor or outdoor structure, basin, chamber or tank containing an artificial body of water for swimming, diving, wading or recreational bathing or swimming having a depth of two feet (60 centimeters) or more at any point, including all structures, appurtenances, equipment, appliances and other facilities appurtenant to and intended for the operation and maintenance of a swimming pool, and also all swimming pools operated and maintained in conjunction with or by clubs, city parks, motels, hotels and all semi-public pools operated and maintained in conjunction with or by apartments and community associations.

15-0402. Regulation by Health Department. The Health Department and agents and employees thereof, shall have authority to regulate the public health and safety in the City of West Fargo concerning use, design, operation, and maintenance of swimming and wading pools and shall have such authority to adopt regulations, rules, standards and practices. Such regulations, rules, standards, and practices shall be approved by the Board of City Commissioners, are hereby adopted by reference and fully incorporated herein, including any amendments hereinafter adopted, and shall be controlling within the jurisdiction of the Health Department.

15-0403. Health Department Approval of Construction Plans. Before work is commenced on the construction of a public or semi-public swimming pool, or on any alteration, addition, remodeling or other improvement to a swimming pool, the plans and specifications shall have been approved by the Health Department. Residential swimming pools are exempt from this requirement, but must meet fencing requirements and other design standards adopted by the Health Department and approved by the Board of City Commissioners.

15-0404. Fence/Barrier and Gate Requirements. A fence or other barrier at least five feet in height shall completely encircle all public, semi-public, and residential outdoor permanent pools. Any fence gate or door shall be equipped such that it can be latched from the inside to prevent access when the pool is unattended.

15-0407. Cleaning Pool. Visible dirt on the bottom of public or semi-public swimming pools and visible scum or floating matter on the surface of pools shall be removed at least once daily with an approved type vacuum cleaner or as often as necessary to maintain good sanitary conditions. All public or semi-public swimming pools shall be thoroughly cleansed at least once each week in a manner and by the use of such disinfecting agents or cleansing materials as may be required by the Health Department.

15-0408. Inspection by Health Department. The Health Department may inspect or cause to be inspected all swimming pools and family pools within the city at such times as it may deem necessary to carry out the intent of this ordinance. The Health Department is hereby authorized to enter upon any premises, private or public, to take such samples of water from such pools at such times as it may deem necessary and to require the owner, proprietor or operator to comply with rules and regulations pertaining to swimming pools promulgated by the Health Department, which regulations which have been adopted by the city of Fargo, as may be amended from time to time, are hereby adopted as applicable regulations in the city of West Fargo. In the event of the failure of compliance after due notice with the rules and regulations and requirements of the Health Department or the requirements of this ordinance, the Health Officer or his designee shall have the power to abate or cause a suspension of the use of such swimming pool or family pool until such time as the same is, in the opinion of the Health Officer or his designee, no longer a menace or a hazard to health, safety or morals.

15-0410. Fees. The fees for the periodic tests required in Section 15-0409 shall be the same fees set by the Board of City Commissioners of the City of West Fargo.

15-0411. Licenses. All swimming pools, including spas and whirlpools, except for family pools, must be licensed by the city. The license period shall be on a calendar year with a renewal of license issued each year. The fees shall be set by resolution of the city commission. The city auditor shall provide the application forms and issue the licenses upon receipt of application and appropriate license fees.

The regulations have been put into place to reduce the risk of accidental drowning and the spread of communicable disease. If you have additional questions relating to wading and swimming pools please contact West Fargo Public Health Officer Grant Larson at 701-241-1364.