Hygienic and environmental requirements

The water used in the swimming pool is classified as follows:

  • Supply water: this is the water used to feed the tanks (filling and replenishment) and the water used for hygienic-sanitary purposes.
  • Water from the inlet to the tank: this is made up of both the recirculation and reintegration water, suitably treated to ensure the necessary requirements.
  • Water contained in the pool: this is the water present in the swimming pool and therefore in direct contact with the bathers.

The supply water must meet all the potability requirements set out in the regulations in force as per Table B below, with the exception of the temperature.

If the supply water does not come from a public aqueduct, potability checks must be carried out on the water itself at least once a year or every six months, for the parameters indicated in the criteria of suitability of the water intended for human consumption, as provided for by current legislation.

The inlet and tank water shall meet the requirements set out in Table C below.

The requirements for the quality of the water in the tank must be met at all points.

The control of the inlet water will be carried out every time it is necessary for internal management checks or inconveniences.

Fungi, yeasts and trihalomethanes have to be verified at the request of the Competent Health Authority; trihalomethanes are verified according to criteria and parameters established by the Ministry of Health.

The methods of analysis used are those for water intended for human consumption and the Ministry of Health will identify further methods of analysis.

The water in the tanks must be completely renewed, after emptying, at least once a year and in any case at the beginning of each seasonal opening.

Table A – Sampling points

Supply water Sample to be taken from aspecial tap placed on an abduction pipe.
Water from the inlet to the tank Sample to be taken from the tap located on the supply pipe of the tank below the treatment plants.
Water in the tank Sample to be taken at any point in the tank.

Water treatment

The following substances listed as disinfectants, flocculants and pH correctors may be used for the treatment of water entering the pool.


  • Ozone
  • Liquid chlorine
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Calcium hypochlorite
  • Dichloroisocyanurate sodium anhydrous – Dichloroisocyanurate sodium dihydrate – Trichloroisocyanuric acid.


  • Aluminium sulphate (solid)
  • Aluminium sulphate (solution)
  • Ferric chloride
  • Ferric chlorine sulphate
  • Aluminium polyhydroxychloride
  • Aluminium polydroxychlorosulphate – Sodium aluminate (solid,
  • Sodium aluminate (solution).

pH correctors

  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Sodium bisulphate
  • Sodium bicarbonate.

For disinfectants, flocculants and Ph correctors, the same degree of purity as that provided for the substances to be used for the production of water for human consumption is adopted.

The antialgae substances that can be used are:

  • N-alkyl-dimethyl-benzylammonium chloride
  • Poly(hydroxyethylene(dimethyliminum), ethylene(dimethyliminum), methylene dichloride)
  • Poly(oxyethylene(dimethyliminum), ethylene(dimethyliminum), ethylene dichloride)

The use of substances not included in these lists must be previously authorised by the Italian Ministry of Health.

Classification of pools

For sanitary purposes, swimming pools are classified according to the following criteria: destination, environmental and structural characteristics, type of use. Pools are classified into the following categories according to their intended use:

(a) public or privately owned swimming pools intended for public use

This category includes the following types of pools whose specific each region defines structural and management characteristics:

(a/1) public pools (such as municipal pools);

a/2) pools for collective use: these are those included in facilities already used, primarily, for other accommodation activities (hotels, camping, accommodation facilities and the like) and those for community service, gyms or similar, accessible only to guests, customers, members of the structure itself;

a/3) facilities for water games.

b) swimming pools whose legal nature is defined by articles 1117 and following of the Italian Civil Code, intended exclusively for the inhabitants of the condominium and their guests.

c) special-use swimming pools located within a treatment, rehabilitation or thermal facility, the discipline of which is defined by specific regulations.

According to the structural and environmental characteristics of the pools are divided into:

a) discoveries if they consist of complexes with one or more artificial basins not confined within closed permanent structures;
(b) indoor if they are made up of complexes with one or more reservoirs confined within permanently closed structures;

(c) mixed type if made up of complexes with one or more uncovered and covered reservoirs which can also be used simultaneously;
(d) convertible type if made up of complexes with one or more reservoirs in which the spaces intended for the activities can be opened or closed in relation to the weather conditions.

Depending on their use, the following types of pools can be identified in the various types of pools:

a) for swimmers and swimming training, with requirements that allow the exercise of swimming activities in accordance with the type and level of performance for which the pool is intended, in compliance with the rules of the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN) and the Fédération Internazionale de Natation Amateur (FINA), as regards the competitive pools;

b) for dives and underwater activities, with requirements that allow the exercise of activities in accordance with the type and level of performance for which the pool is intended, in compliance with the rules of the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN) and the Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) as regards dives;

c) recreational, having morphological and functional requirements that make them suitable for play and bathing;
d) for children, with morphological and functional requirements, such as a depth of 60 cm, which make them suitable for bathing children;

e) multi-functional, having morphological and functional characteristics that allow the simultaneous use of the basin for different activities or that meet the requirements of convertibility that make them suitable for different uses;

(f) equipped recreational facilities, characterized by the prevalence of ancillary equipment such as water slides, wave-forming systems, movable bottoms, etc.,
g) for rehabilitation purposes, having morphological and functional requirements as well as specific equipment for the exclusive exercise of rehabilitation and re-education activities under specialist medical supervision; h) for curative and thermal uses, in which the water is used as a therapeutic means in relation to its intrinsic physical-chemical characteristics and/or how it comes into contact with bathers and in which the exercise of bathing activities is carried out under specialist health supervision.

Swimming facility requirements

Table B – Requirements for water supply (mains)

Colour Drinking water value
Organic substances  ≤ 2 mg/l di O2
Nitrates Drinking water value


Tabel C – Requirements for water entering and contained in the tank


Physical requirements
Temperature of open tanks 18° C – 30° C 18° C – 30° C
Ph chlorine disinfection 6.5 – 7.5 6.5 – 7.5
Turbidity in SiO2 ≤ 2 mg/l SiO2 ≤ 4 mg/l SiO2
Coarse solids Assenti Assenti
Suspended solids ≤ 2 mg/l (filtrazione su membrana da 0,45 µm) ≤ 4 mg/l (filtrazione su membrana da 0,45 µm)
Colour Valore dell’acqua potabile ≤ 5 mg/l Pt/Co oltre quello dell’acqua di approvvigionamento
Chemical requirements
Free active chlorine 0,6 ÷ 1,8 mg/l Cl2 0,7 ÷ 1,5 mg/l Cl2
Combined active chlorine ≤ 0,2 mg/l Cl2 ≤ 0,4 mg/l Cl2
Combined use Ozone- Chlorine-Cloro:

Free active chlorine

Combined active chlorine





0,4 ÷ 1,6 mg/l Cl2

≤ 0,05 mg/l Cl2

≤0,01 mg/l O3




0,4 ÷ 1,0 mg/l Cl2

≤ 0,2 mg/l  Cl2

≤ 0,01 mg/l O3

Isocyanuric acid ≤ 75 mg/l ≤ 75 mg/l
Organic substances (permanganate analysis) ≤ 2 mg/l di O2 ≤ 2 mg/l di O2
Nitrates Valore dell’acqua potabile ≤ 20 mg/l NO3
Flocculants ≤ 0,2 mg/l in Al o Fe(in relation to the flocculant used) ≤ 0,2 mg/l in Al o Fe

(in relation to the flocculant used)

Microbiological requirements
Bacterial count at 22° ≤ 100 ufc/l ml ≤ 200 ufc/l ml
Bacterial count at 36° ≤ 10 ufc/l ml ≤ 100 ufc/l ml
E. coli 0 ufc/100 ml 0 ufc/100 ml
Enterococci 0 ufc/100 ml 0 ufc/100 ml
Staphylococcus aureus 0 ufc/100 ml ≤ 1 ufc/100 ml
Pseudomonas aeruginosa 0 ufc/100 ml ≤ 1ufc/100 ml

The controls to verify the correct functioning of the pools are divided into internal controls, carried out by the person responsible for the business, and external controls, which are the responsibility of the Local Health Authority. With regard to internal controls, the person responsible for the business must ensure the proper management of the pool in compliance with what, in this regard, reported below. Internal controls must be carried out, in compliance with quality procedures, according to management protocols and self-control. To this end, the person responsible for the business must prepare a risk assessment document, in which every phase that could prove to be critical in the management of the business is considered.

The following principles must be considered in the document:

  • analysis of potential health and hygiene hazards for the pool, with particular regard to the prevention of legionnaires’ disease;
  • analysis of potential safety hazards for visitors and bathers;
  • identification of the points or phases where such hazards may occur and definition of the relevant preventive measures to be taken;
  • identification of critical points and definition of critical limits for them;
  • definition of the monitoring system;
  • identification of prevention and protection actions as well as corrective actions;
  • verifications of the plan and periodic review, including in relation to changes in initial conditions, risk analyses, critical points, and control and monitoring procedures.

Every year, and in any case prior to each reactivation of the pool, verification of the proper functioning of each type of system installed and, in particular, of the air and water treatment systems, must be carried out and documented. The person responsible for the business must ensure that the following procedures are applied, maintained and updated as provided for in the risk assessment document.
The person responsible for the business must also keep the following documents available for the supervisory authority:

  • register of controls, in accordance with Standard UNI10637;
  • a register of technical-functional characteristics that contains the indications set out in specific annexes A and B.

In the case where a remote control system is activated, the records can also be kept at the headquarters of the management company, as long as the content of the system can still be viewed at the plant. If, as a result of the above checks, the person responsible for the business finds values of the hygienic-sanitary parameters that do not comply with what is established in the annexes, he must identify the problem and restore optimal conditions. If the non-compliance detected could constitute a serious risk to health, the owner of the business, apart from taking the necessary precautionary measures, must promptly notify the Local Health Authority.

The documentation relating to the activities carried out in the context of internal controls must be kept available to the Local Health Authority for a period of at least two years. The Local Health Authority carries out inspections, sampling and analyses on the tank water in order to verify compliance with the requirements of these regulations. These controls are carried out on the basis of the criteria set out in the specific Annexes, on the basis of specific control and supervision plans and in a manner and frequency that take into account the type of plants existing within the specific territorial areas, with particular attention to the critical points highlighted in the management and self-control protocols prepared by the owner of the activity.

Quaderni per la salute e la sicurezza – ISPESL


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Regulatory references

  • Permanent Conference State-Regions of 11 July 1991 on “Hygienic-sanitary aspects for the construction, maintenance and supervision of public swimming pools for swimming”(ITA);
  • Agreement of 16 January 2003 between the Ministry of Health, the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano on “hygienic-sanitary aspects for the construction, maintenance and supervision of swimming pools”(ITA);
  • Agreement between the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano on the “Interregional regulation of swimming pools” – Conference of Presidents of 16 January 2004 (ITA);
  • UNI EN 10637 “Swimming pools – Requirements for swimming pool water circulation, treatment, disinfection and quality systems” Milan June 1997;
  • Law 24 October 200 n. 323 “Reorganization of the thermal sector” G.U. 8 November 2000 n. 261 (ITA);
  • Swiss Office for Accident Prevention “Vademecum della sicurezza per tutti – Sport acquatici” UPI 2003;
  • Word Healt Organization: “Guideline for safe recretional water environments: coastal and fresh-waters: Draft for consultation”, Geneva WHO 1988;
  • Acts of the 41st National Congress of the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Workshop 8 Genoa 2004.

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