COVID-19 and Water Recreation
The Pool and Spa Program protects public health by working with owners and operators of public and semi-public water recreation facilities to prevent drowning, illnesses and injuries. Asotin County pools are permitted and inspected at least annually for compliance with state regulations.
The Water Recreation Program provides additional services, such as plan review and pre-occupancy inspections of new or modified facilities, response to public health or safety concerns regarding permitted facilities, and water safety consultations for pool owners and operators.
Fees are charged for permits and construction review. There is no charge for complaint response, illness investigation, or consultation.
Shutting Down and Reopening Water Recreation Facilities Guidance (PDF)
Pool owners or operators of regulated facilities must report any death, near drowning, serious injury, or communicable disease associated with the facility. Complete the form and contact your local health departmentwithin 48 hours of the incident. If you're unable to reach your local health department, contact us.
Injury Report Form (PDF) or Injury Report Form (Word Fillable) – Report death, near drowning, or serious injury associated with your facility.
Illness Report Form (PDF) or Illness Report Form (Word Fillable) – Report communicable disease associated with your facility.
Buy a simple water testing kit at your local pool store. The kit will come with instructions on how to test the water to determine the pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness are all in the right range.
The calcium hardness (how "hard" or "soft" your water is) should be between 200 to 400 parts per million (ppm). If your water is too soft, you'll need to add calcium carbonate dihydrate to raise it. If it's too hard, you'll need to add sodium hexametaphosphate. Both these chemicals are available at pool shops.
The alkalinity of your pool water should be 100 to 120 ppm. (Some people use a wider range of 80 to 150 ppm.) Baking soda can raise the total alkalinity if it's too low, while dry acid can lower it, if it's too high.
Your Disinfection Team: Chlorine & pH are the first defense against germs that can make swimmers sick. As a residential pool or hot tub/spa owner, it is your responsibility to regularly check the chlorine concentration and pH of the pool or hot tub/spa water to help protect yourself and your family and friends from recreational water illness.
The proper pH for your swimming pool is between 7.2 and 7.6. If your pH is too high, you can lower it by adding liquid muriatic acid (or sodium bisulfate). For low pH, add soda ash. Test the pool water weekly to make sure the calcium hardness, alkalinity and pH are all in the proper range.
Keep Clean With Chlorine
Keep your pool clean and healthy with chlorine. Depending on how often you use your pool (and how hot it is outside), you may need to add chlorine several times a week. Talk with your pool supply store on which type of chlorine is most convenient and affordable in your area. They will also let you know how much chlorine is needed for your pool's size. Chlorine granules are the most common and are usually inexpensive. Liquid, tablets and sticks are also available but can be more costly.
To treat your pool, add chlorine granules to water in a non-metal container as directed. (Never add the water after the chlorine.) Stir for 30-60 seconds, then let it settle for 30 more seconds. Pour the chlorine mixture into the middle of your pool. Add chlorine after dusk so that the sun doesn't absorb the chlorine. Test the pool water to make sure the chlorine level is below 3.0 ppm before anyone goes in the water. Every few weeks (or if your pool gets green), you will need to add a super-chlorinated shock treatment to the water to get rid of any bacteria and algae. If your pool is getting green often, the water may not be circulating enough. Talk to a pool professional about how long you need to keep the pool pump running each day.
Cover It Up
If you aren't using your pool daily, keep a cover on it as much as possible. This will lessen the amount of dirt, leaves and other debris that gets in the water. Before swimming, remove any leaves from the water surface with a net and sweep the bottom of the pool as necessary. Also, clean the strainer basket in the skimmer once a week (more often if a lot of leaves are falling). Clean your pool filter monthly as directed by the manufacturer or pool store.
Asotin County Public Health leads the community through education and evidence-based practices to prevent illness, promote health, and protect the environment to improve the quality of life in our communities.