Arizona Pool Laws

Key Takeaways

  • Arizona residents with pools that are 8’ wide at any point and at least 18” deep need to follow specific regulations from ARS 36-1681 to avoid legal penalties. Still, commercial pools are held to higher standards, such as ADA compliance.
  • Arizona pool fence laws require pools to be enclosed by a fence, wall or barrier that is at least 5’ tall, 20” away from the water’s edge and free of any large openings that can be used for climbing or unauthorized entry.
  • Secure gates and safety equipment, such as ring buoys and shepherd’s crooks, can help reduce pool-related dangers, especially for children and untrained swimmers.
  • If you or a loved one suffered a pool-related accident, such as slipping or drowning, the pool owner can be held liable, especially if their pool infringes on local regulations. Hiring a qualified lawyer can help you receive damages.

Learning About Arizona’s Pool Laws

Out of all the cities in the United States, Phoenix, Arizona, has the most residential swimming pools—as of 2021, roughly 32.7% of Phoenix homes featured a pool. This is because Arizona’s hot climate is perfect for swimming, and installing a pool can increase property value by 7%, making this recreational tool a reliable investment as well.

Although pools can offer many benefits, they can pose risks, too. For example, pool owners can be legally responsible if a guest or unwelcome entrant slips, falls, drowns or gets injured in or around their pool. If you suffered an injury at a residential or commercial pool in Arizona, you must know about relevant laws to know if the pool owner was compliant with regulations or if they may be liable for the expenses associated with your injury.

Residential Pool Regulations

ARS 36-1681 outlines residential pool laws, focusing on enclosures, requirements, exceptions and enforcement. This statute fleshes out the following responsibilities for people who own pools that are 18” or deeper and 8’ wide at any point.

Requirements for Pool Fencing and Barriers

Arizona pool fence laws require pools to have restrictive barriers that meet specific standards. Some essential fence-related requirements for residential pools in Arizona are:

  1. A 5’ or taller barrier must wholly enclose the pool area.
  2. The barrier must be at least 20” from the water’s edge.
  3. The barrier cannot feature openings that facilitate climbing from the exterior.
  4. The barrier must not allow a 4” spherical object to pass through.
  5. Horizontal components of the barrier must be less than 45” apart vertically.
  6. Barriers cannot have any horizontal openings greater than 1 ¾”.
  7. The maximum horizontal mesh size for wire mesh or chain link fences is 1 ¾”.
  8. Gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  9. Gates must open outward from the pool.
  10. Gates must be located 54” or higher above the underlying ground pool.
  11. Gates require a release mechanism at least 5” below the gate’s top.

The barrier-centered rules above can help keep pools safe and eliminate accidents by preventing entrants and objects that shouldn’t be inside the pool area. Still, there are some exceptions to these rules—for example, if every resident is above six years old, the household may not need some of these precautions.

If you were injured near or in a residential pool, it is best to contact a trusted personal injury attorney to determine whether you may qualify for financial compensation.

Guidelines for Pool Maintenance

Pool maintenance involves regularly cleaning and replacing the water. However, many rules dictate how pool owners should maintain their pools. For example, in most Arizona cities, including Scottsdale, local regulations forbid residents from draining pool water into the street. The salt and chemicals in pool water can harm aquatic life and lead to expensive street repairs.

Additionally, the Arizona Department of Child Safety requires filled pools not to be stagnant. The water must be clear enough to see the bottom, providing quick detection if someone falls in. The owner should clean the pool regularly to maintain its clarity. If you are injured in a murky pool or if your property is damaged by illegal pool dumping, you may be able to receive damages via a court order.

Required Safety Equipment

The Arizona Department of Child Safety also declares that all pools deeper than 6’ need to have a shepherd’s crook fastened to a pole and a ring buoy attached to a rope that is at least 10’ longer than half the length of the pool easily accessible in the pool area. As they usually do not come with extra rope, the pool owner often needs to add one. Substituting a ring buoy for an inflatable ring is permitted.

Although it is not a strict requirement, the Arizona Department of Health Services recommends that pools have signs placed with CPR/CCR instructions and local emergency phone numbers. Plus, a phone should be placed near the pool or within easy reach.

If you have any questions regarding the ARS 36-1681 statute or other regulatory literature, we strongly suggest getting in contact with a trusted law team. Consulting a qualified attorney can increase your chances of achieving the best possible outcome from your personal injury case.

Commercial Pool Regulations

In Arizona, public and semi-public pools are usually held to even higher standards than private residential equivalents. A commercial pool facility’s managers must abide by the following regulations.

Routine Testing

The Maricopa County Environmental Health Code Chapter VI, Section 2, Regulation 6 requires all pools to be outfitted with approved testing equipment that performs daily checks of the pool’s pH level, disinfectant residual, total alkalinity and temperature. There should also be an operating log that features the results of each test for the previous 12 months. This test should be readily available in case any regulatory authority or a member of the public requests it.

Consistent Cleanliness

The Maricopa County Environmental Health Code also requires public pool facilities to meet the following cleanliness standards:

  1. The pool needs to be filled with potable water from an approved source.
  2. The pool’s surface should be kept free of debris and scum.
  3. Sediment, dirt, slime and algae should be cleared from the bottom and sides.
  4. The water should be free of turbidity, allowing an adult on the pool deck to see the main drain outlet easily.
  5. No more than 15% of water samples from the pool should contain more than 200 bacteria per milliliter.
  6. Consistent chlorine or bromine disinfection should take place to stabilize pH and alkalinity.
  7. Cases of fecal matter in the pool require an immediate evacuation, chemical treatment and thorough testing before reentering.

The chemical standards provide specific parameters for pH and chemical use to keep Arizona’s public pools in safe ranges. If testing reflects that the pool is not in safe conditions, or if testing is unavailable altogether, the commercial pool owner may be found responsible for any of its guests’ ailments that can be tied back to the pool’s poor quality.

ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that people with disabilities have equal opportunities in public settings nationwide. This means community pools must make accommodations to broaden their facility’s accessibility.

Most types of pools, excluding some lazy rivers and wave pools, have to feature at least two accessible means of entry, such as electronic lifts complying with 1009.2, sloped entries complying with 1009.3, transfer walls complying with 1009.4 or transfer systems complying with 1009.5.

Accessibility features like portable lifts should be maintained and functional whenever the pool is open to the public. Staff training should also be incorporated to educate each pool employee on what ADA-related features are available, how to use them and how to maintain them. Pool employees should also be taught about any ADA safety considerations and swim class adaptations that are needed.

Licensing and Inspection Procedures

In most of Arizona, including Maricopa County, commercial facilities require operating permits for each of their public, semi-public, wading or special-use pools. Permits are also required for public spas and artificial bathing lakes. An operational inspection is a prerequisite for receiving a permit. As of 2024, the average price for an operational inspection is $135 per body of water.

If a commercial pool is not compliant with the above measures and any additional local expectations, it may be vulnerable to lawsuits from its negatively affected guests.

Legal Consequences of Non-Compliance

In Arizona, pool owners can suffer legal consequences for breaking pool laws. Depending on how severe the infraction is, these consequences could range from monetary fines to lengthy lawsuits, depending on whether the offender is liable for someone getting hurt or drowning in the pool as a result of the law violation.

If someone does not have a barrier around their residential pool that meets standards or if they are violating ARS 36-1681 in another way, they may be found guilty of a petty offense. Still, fines can be avoided if the offender can demonstrate that they completed an approved swimming pool safety course and installed an appropriate barrier around the swimming pool within 45 days of receiving the citation.

Hiring The Right Company To Work On The Pool

If someone in Arizona is getting a pool, they need to make sure the companies they hire fully understand what is required so that they avoid legal fines and protect the security of their pool guests. Although construction companies may have insight into local regulations, it is up to the owner to ensure their property is up to code.

Oftentimes, the organization that does the pool installation does not take care of all the matters related to pool construction and maintenance. For example, Arizona pool laws require pool owners to have a fence with particular dimensions around their pool to protect it from a person accidentally falling in. Although they may suggest a fencing company they are partnered with, the pool installation company constructing the pool will probably not be designing and building the fence themselves. So, the pool owner will have to hire a separate fencing company and a pool maintenance company to routinely clean and inspect the pool to keep it regulatory compliant.

Additionally, pool laws can vary between counties. So, if a company is stationed in Pima County, it may be unaware of Maricopa County’s pool-related regulations. Understanding local pool laws is vital for pool owners and guests alike to ensure safety.

If You Experienced an Accident, Contact a Attorney

Even if the pool owner takes all the precautions necessary to abide by the laws instituted in Arizona, some unexpected situations may still arise. For example, a person slipping and getting injured in or around their pool area may still be grounds for a lawsuit, depending on the situation.

The pool owner may have insurance covering accidents like this. Still, the insurance company may not provide enough compensation to you, the injured person, leaving you with significant costs for hospitalization, doctor bills, or other injury-related expenses. You can fight for financial compensation for any uncovered costs by hiring a trusted premises liability attorney if the accident was in a commercial space or a personal injury attorney if it was in a residential space.

Some benefits of consulting an experienced attorney are:

  • Getting insight into what to expect from the lawsuit.
  • Having an experienced lawyer advocate for you.
  • Your lawyer can prepare your case for you and gather any pertinent evidence.
  • Gaining more legally sound negotiating power while in trial.

Having a legal powerhouse on your side, trying to protect your best interests, can help you obtain the most ideal results from the case.

Ensure Pool Owners are Taking Accountability

A pool can be a fantastic investment that could offer hours of entertainment; however, it comes with several responsibilities. The pool owner needs to safeguard their pool with an appropriate barrier and perform regular maintenance to keep it compliant with Arizona’s pool laws to avoid legal consequences.

Stay up to date with Arizona pool fence laws set by ARS 36-1681 and any other pool-related regulations by contacting a qualified attorney from JacksonWhite Law. Our highly experienced law team can help you hold pool owners responsible for any injuries sustained on their property. We can use applicable statutes to fight for financial compensation on your behalf.

If you were hurt at a pool, call our Personal Injury team at (480) 744-3989 to discuss your case today.

Free Personal Injury Case Review

Call (480) 467-4392 or fill out the form below to get your free consultation and discuss your best legal options.