Swimming Pools and Spas


Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes a diarrheal illness called cryptosporidiosis (often called “Crypto”). Crypto is a common waterborne illness and is the most common cause of recreational water illness in the United States. Crypto spreads easily in the water, it is important to stay out of recreational waters if you are sick.

Crypto is passed in the stool of an infected person or animal. Crypto can survive outside the body for long periods of time. Crypto is highly resistant to chlorine. Crypto can survive, even in properly chlorinated swimming pools. 

Symptoms of Crypto include: watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and low-grade fever. These symptoms generally begin 2 to 10 days after becoming infected with the parasite. Watery diarrhea is the most common symptom. Some people infected with Crypto will have no symptoms at all. People are still infectious for approximately two weeks after the symptoms resolve, for some, a full recovery can take four weeks or longer.

It is important to:

  1. Stay out of the water is you have diarrhea.
  2. Shower before you get in the water.
  3. Do not swallow the water.
  4. Wash your hands with soap and water.  Alcohol-based sanitizers are not effective against Crypto.

Contact your healthcare provider if you suspect that you have cryptosporidiosis.

Please see the Healthy Swimming and Cryptosporidium Fact Sheet for more information. 

Licensing and Inspection

Anoka County Public Health and Environmental Services licenses swimming pools and whirlpool / spa pools at apartment buildings, hotels, food establishments, recreational camping areas, youth camps, health clubs and other establishments as required by the Anoka County Public Swimming Pool Ordinance and the Minnesota Pool Code. These pools and spas are inspected annually for health and safety violations. The regulations for pools and spas are outlined in the Anoka County Public Swimming Pool Ordinance and the Minnesota Pool Code.

Apply for a License

Call 763-324-4260 to speak with a department representative and receive a license application along with the supplemental application.

Submit the Pool Application PLUS the Pool Supplemental Application and applicable license fee to the department.

If purchasing an existing facility with a swimming pool or whirlpool / spa pool, a compliance inspection must be conducted prior to the closing date of the sale. Swimming pool or whirlpool / spa pool licenses are not transferable to person or place. A new license must be obtained before you begin operation of the swimming pool or whirlpool / spa pool.

Plans for new swimming pools or whirlpool / spa pools must be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Certified Pool Operator

Public pools are required to have a certified pool operator and the operator’s certification must be posted (see Minnesota Rules, part 4717.0650, subpart 5). A certified trained operator must successfully complete a re certification course at least once every five years. For a list of courses, visit the course listings at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Recent Pool Code Changes

Early March 2016, the Minnesota Department of Health sent notice to all known public pool operators in the State to inform them of pending changes to the Pool Code, Minnesota Rules 4717. The revisions proposed are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recently released Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) and brings the Minnesota code into alignment with the requirements of most of our neighboring states.

Pool Code changes have been approved and are effective June 27, 2016.

The minimum allowable disinfectant residual will increase for some pools, the maximum allowable disinfectant residual will increase for all pools, and the maximum allowable pH will decrease for all pools:

  • When chlorine is used, a free chlorine residual of at least 1.0 parts per million must be maintained throughout the pool (changed from 0.5 parts per million).
  • When bromine is used, a bromine residual of at least 2.0 parts per million must be maintained throughout the pool (changed from 1.0 parts per million).
  • The disinfectant concentration in an operating pool must not exceed 10 parts per million (changed from 5 parts per million) when chlorine is used.
  • The disinfectant concentration in an operating pool must not exceed 20 parts per million (changed from 10 parts per million) when bromine is used.
  • Water in the pool must be maintained with a pH of not less than 7.2 and not more than 7.8 (changed from not less than a pH of 7.2 and no more than 8.0).

These revisions are science based, have industry support, and most operators will find compliance easier.