Pool Reflections …
A day in the life of a Florida public pool inspector
By Lauren Broom
What is a pool inspector? This is a cool job, but what are the requirements to get hired for this job in Florida? What is involved in the daily responsibilities? First, a pool inspector in Florida is technically titled an Environmental Specialist and they are employed by the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) within their base county. The inspector is asked all the time how they got their fun job. One requirement to apply for a pool inspector position with the FLDOH is a Bachelor’s degree in a science. They are a public health and safety inspector for public swimming pools as defined in the State of Florida statute.
Responsibilities vary from county to county. In some counties, inspectors may be working in as many as nine separate regulatory public health programs. Your pool inspector likely has many responsibilities. As budgets tighten, they are doing more work with less people, like many other organizations. The department’s ability to keep well-trained staff has lessened in the past decade. Unfortunately, this affects the inspection process in many Florida counties.
To Begin — Inspectors Assigned To Pools
State pool inspectors are assigned to one county and there are usually multiple inspectors in one county. The pools are most commonly assigned by a geographic area.
Each inspector is responsible for completing their assigned facilities and their respective inspection frequencies. Reassignment of a geographic area could occur due to: complacency on
Lauren Broom is a Certified Pool Operator Course, CPO ® , instructor and a former health inspector for the Florida Department of Health. Lauren has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and is a registered sanitarian.
She has 16-years of experience in commercial pool inspections and waterborne disease outbreak investigations.
Lauren lives in Palm Bay, Florida with her husband of 17 years and their 3 children.
Lauren can be reached at [email protected] the inspectors part, to avoid building a relationship between the inspector and the permittee, what area the supervisor may want the inspector to work in at that time.
Routine pool inspections are conducted randomly. There should be no pattern or even a planned method to it.
The inspector is not “out to get” the permittee or pool company. The inspector will most likely work in one specific area of their assigned geographic area until their inspections are completed.
Random inspections allow the inspector to check on true conditions at the aquatic venue that may otherwise be altered if inspections were scheduled.
Upon arrival for inspection, an inspector may be required to have a gate access code for the main gate to the community or even need a gate code, key or some other form of access into the pool area.
The pool equipment area should be locked up and require some type of access for random inspection.
Because most properties have offsite property management offices, methods of access to these public pool areas are required to be provided to the inspector prior to random inspection.
As mentioned earlier, public pools are defined based on certain criteria. The public pools that are regulated by the FLDOH are inspected using Chapter 64E-9, F.A.C. and Florida Building Code(FBC) Chapter 514.
The FLDOH has the approved pool inspection report that is completed on a laptop and the inspection results are emailed electronically to the owner, property manager and pool service company.
This communication with all parties ensures that the inspection violations can be corrected by the timed deadline.
Some common violations found within my routine inspections over the years are listed in the companion chart.
An unsatisfactory inspection results in re-inspection of the facility within a specified amount of time but the facility is not closed. The pool closure requires that the facility is closed immediately by the inspector and a date is placed on the inspection report for re-inspection.
The pool closure can be done by locking up the facility or placing signs at all points of access into the pool area by either someone at the facility onsite or by the inspector before they leave the property.
The FLDOH pool inspector has immediate authority to close any regulated public pool for a Type A FBC violation or violations contained within the enforcement section of Chapter 64E-9, F.A.C.
One of the best ways to avoid closure of a public pool is for the permittee to have knowledge of what violations or conditions have been documented from the most recent inspection.
Florida public pool inspectors are very busy while having a very interesting job.
Hopefully, you may now have a better idea of what the day in the life of a pool inspector is like!
Understanding what your local pool inspector has to do can help with your relationship with the inspector on understanding and getting violations corrected.
Look forward to Part 2 of “A Day in the Life of a Florida Pool Inspector” in the November 1, 2020, issue of Service Industry News, where I will feature enforcement and compliance issues, including re-inspections and sanctions.