Swimming Pools

Kids playing in a public swimming pool

The purpose of the swimming pool inspection program is to protect, promote and preserve the health, safety and general welfare of the public by providing for the establishment and enforcement of minimum standards for safety, cleanliness and general sanitation for all swimming pools, spa pools, beaches and public bathing places now in existence or hereafter constructed or developed, and to provide for inspection and licensing of all such facilities.

Inspection Jurisdiction

Johnson County Health and Environment inspects public and semi-public swimming pools, spas, and beaches in cities that have adopted the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code. These cities are Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Olathe, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee, Spring Hill, Stilwell and Westwood. JCDHE has no authority to inspect swimming facilities located in cities not listed here. If you have concerns and your city is not listed, contact your city government.

View the Current Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code.

In March 2024, a new Johnson County Aquatic Health Code DRAFT 1 was released. The purpose of updating the code is to ensure public health through safe, evidence-based practice in the management of public and semi-public swimming pools and spas and public beaches.

Based on feedback received at a public listening session on March 26, 2024, and comments received via email and phone calls, the Aquatic Health Code was revised and DRAFT 2 is now available for review. A summary of these changes is provided. 

The revised Aquatic Health Code will be presented to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners in July or August 2024 for approval and adoption. JCDHE will request the Code become effective Jan. 1, 2025. The current DRAFT 2 will be available for comment until the Board approves the Code.

All comments and feedback about the Aquatic Health Code may be sent to jcdhe@jocogov.org.

Additional Information About Proposed Code Changes


Swimming facilities are inspected year round. There are currently more than 300 public and semi-public swimming facilities that are permitted and inspected in Johnson County. JCDHE performs routine inspections.


Submit a complaint or concern using our online complaint form, so our staff can investigate the issue.

Annual Permitting

Permitting for public or semi-public swimming pools, spas, and bathing beaches covers operation from April 1 to March 31. Every year permit applications are mailed to every facility having a pool, spa and/or wading pool that requires licensure. Every licensed establishment requires supervision by at least one licensed operator.

All public or semi-public swimming pools, pool spas, beaches or public bathing places must obtain an annual operating permit no later than April 1 of each year.  Permit applications are mailed to the facilities by March 1 of each year.  Permits are valid for one year and are not transferable to new owners.

If a public or semi-public swimming facility does not renew by April 1 or is found to be operating without a current license, then the facility will be required to pay an amount equal to twice the normal annual permit fee.

If multiple pools are located at different addresses but are considered part of one complex, each pool must submit an application, pay the annual permit fee and obtain a separate license.

Steps to a Successful Permit or Renewal Process

  • Fill out the permit application completely.
  • Submit the permit application by mail, along with the correct fee, by April 1 of each year. A separate application and fee is required for pools with different addresses.
  • Ensure a currently licensed pool operator is listed on the application.

Things to Remember

Once you've received your permit for the coming year, there are important things to remember to ensure the safety of swimmers.

  • If the Licensed Pool Operator changes at any time, notify the Environment Division immediately.
  • Prior to opening, make sure the pool, pumps, filters, all safety equipment, signage and chemicals are ready for use and in operating condition.
  • Notify the Environment Division of any changes to the pool or pumps.
  • Close the pool if any imminent health, water quality or safety issues are present in the pool.

Pool Water Disposal

Swimming pool and hot tub water contains many chemicals, including large amounts of chlorine, that are harmful to streams and lakes. Treated pool water is especially harmful to the aquatic life in these waterbodies. If water drained from pools is allowed to enter the storm drain system directly, it can harm fish and other aquatic life.

Any water drained to the street or a storm drain flows directly to streams and lakes without treatment, therefore, the guidelines for properly disposing pool water must be followed. 

Releasing chlorinated pool water or backwash filter waste into a stream or storm drainage system is prohibited by City, County and State regulations. Follow the steps below to safely and legally discharge pool water.

Water from backwash filter systems are not allowed in the storm sewer system. It is preferred that this water is directed to the sanitary system through a drain in your home; however, you may discharge the water on your lawn only if all of the water soaks into the ground and no water is allowed to leave your property. Used pool filters should be placed in your trash. 

Residential Pool Water Disposal

Traditional chlorine pools

  1. Discontinue the addition of chlorine 5 to 7 days before you plan to drain the water. This will allow the chlorine to dissipate naturally.
  2. Test the chlorine level and the pH of the water. If the residual chlorine level is less than 0.1 ppm (mg/L) and the pH is between 7 and 8, the water is safe to drain.
  3. Drain the water. Direct the water in a way that does not cause it to flow onto a neighbor's property, cause nuisance conditions or erosion problems. It is preferred that you discharge the water to a grassy area on your property and not allow the water to leave the property.

Salt water pools

  1. Discontinue the addition of salt and turn off or unplug the chlorine generator(s). This will stop the generation of chlorine and allow the chlorine in the pool water to dissipate.
  2. Test the chlorine level and the pH of the water. If the residual chlorine level is less than 0.1 ppm (mg/L) and the pH is between 7 and 8, the water is safe to drain. 
  3. Drain the water to a grassy area; it cannot be drained to the street or storm drain. When draining to a grassy area on your property, take care to not allow the water to flow to trees or landscape beds. Do not allow the water to leave the property from which it originated. All pool water discharge and rinse water must soak into the ground. Typical lawns in Johnson County can tolerate the residual salt content in the water if you spread the flow out to different areas and water (with tap water) the affected area thoroughly (1-2 inches) to flush the residual salt through the soil.