In this section:
BEDHD inspects public swimming pools to achieve the following objectives:
- Establish operator competency through audits, education, and certification.
- Minimize the risk for swimming-associated illnesses, injuries, or deaths.
- Assure facility contingency plans for response to biohazard (blood, feces, vomit) events at or in the pool.
What Is a Public Swimming Pool?
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) swimming pool rules define a public swimming or spa pool as "an artificial body of water … used for the purpose of swimming, wading, recreation, or instruction." Facilities having public pools consist of schools, hotels, apartments, campgrounds, hospitals, fitness centers, condominiums and neighborhood association, etc.
BEDHD currently audits 73 public swimming pools and spas on a semi-annual basis for safety and environmental hazards. All outdoor pools must have a pre-opening audit prior to opening for the season.
Certified Pool Operators
It is recommended that a certified pool operator (CPO) be the person responsible for operating and maintaining a public swimming pool or spa. Certification is achieved through the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) and is valid for five years. Additional information on CPO certification can be found on the NSPF website.
For additional information on swimming pools, licensing and recreational water illnesses, please visit the following websites:
- BEDHD Recreational Water Illness Toolkit for Pool Operators
- Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
- National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Video Clip: “Healthy Swimming Is No Accident”
- Pool Chemical Safety Alert and Fact Sheet
Campgrounds are licensed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and regulated by the BEDHD under the authority of Part 125 of Public Act 368, PA 1978. Licensing and regulation of campgrounds is carried out to achieve the following goals:
- To eliminate public health conditions or hazards that could lead to injury, illness, or death.
- To minimize public health conditions that could pose a nuisance.
- To increase operator awareness and understanding of MDEQ rule changes.
- To facilitate a working relationship between operators and MDEQ.
BEDHD works with the campground owner/operators to ensure that the camping experience is safe and enjoyable.
What Is a Public Campground?
The MDEQ campground rules define a campground as "A parcel or tract of land…offered for the use of the public of members of an organization…for the establishment of temporary living quarters for five or more recreational units." Recreational units include tents. Campgrounds can be:
- Modern: A service building with flush toilets and water under pressure or water and sewer connections at individual campsites.
- Primitive: Privies only with no individual water of sewer connections at campsites.
- Temporary: Operates for 2 weeks or less with a 2-week extension if permitted by the local health department. To learn more about applying for a temporary campground license, visit our "Forms, Permits, and Licensing" webpage.
BEDHD currently audits 33 campground having a total of 2,914 campsites. All campgrounds are audited on an annual basis for safety and environmental hazards.
Since 2003, BEDHD has been annually monitoring the surface water quality at various public bathing beaches within the district through the grant source of the Clean Michigan Initiative-Clean Water Fund (CMI-CWF). This monitoring is aims to:
- Minimize the risk of swimming-associated illness.
- Increase public awareness of waterborne diseases.
- Increase park officials’ education and the monitoring and maintenance of publicly used beaches.
What Is a Public Bathing Beach?
A bathing beach is defined as an outdoor public area along a natural or man-made body of water for the intended purpose of recreational use and/or swimming.
Each beach is sampled at 3 separate locations at a frequency of 5 times per month. If a beach water sample is found to have above 300 E. coli per 100mL of water, or if the 30 day geometric mean at a sample site is above 130 E. coli per 100mL of water, a swimming advisory will be posted for not meeting Michigan water quality standards for full body contact. A swimming advisory will remain in effect until follow-up samples indicate the water meets the full body contact standards.
For more information on Michigan public beaches, beach monitoring, and beach closings, see MDEQ's BeachGuard website.
For information on swimmer's itch, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s "Swimmer's Itch" website.