Public Swimming Pools

people swimming laps in pool

There are more than 1,300 public swimming pools in Wake County. These include city municipal pools, apartments, condominiums, subdivisions, home owner associations, clubs, etc. The local Health Department is required to inspect and permit public swimming pools prior to opening each season. 

Subsequent inspections are conducted by summer employees. Year-round pools are inspected throughout the year.

Pools are closed immediately due to safety violations such as no disinfectant in the pool or the presence of algae, bacteria, fecal material or glass.

Private pools at homes are exempt from the rules.

Information for 2024 season

Pool inspections can be requested beginning April 1 and are scheduled on a first-come first-serve basis. We strongly encourage submitting a request for an inspection as soon as possible.

To ensure your pool is ready for the Memorial Day holiday, the following must be done by May 13:

  1. Pool permit fee has been received,
  2. Pool has current VGB documentation on file, and 
  3. Inspector has been contacted to request an inspection.

How do I prepare for an inspection?

  • Use the 2024 Swimming Pool List to find out:
    1. Payment status
    2. VGB expiration date 
      Reminder! For pools that have VGB documentation that expires during the 2024 season, the suction covers must be replaced, and new documentation must be submitted for review prior to scheduling a permitting inspection. See Main Drain Compliance (VGB) tab for more information.
    3. Contact information for your inspector
      (List will be updated with inspector assignments for all pools by March 25, 2024.)
  • Use the Opening Inspection Checklist to be ready for the inspection.

Inspectors will be checking the pool pump(s) and suction covers to verify the approved VGB documentation on file for that pool. This letter explains the requirement and the procedures inspectors will follow to verify the VGB documentation in the field. It is recommended that pool operators also follow this procedure to verify everything matches before scheduling an inspection.

Pool Billing/Fees

Annual Fees – Be sure you pay your swimming pool fees each year. The cost for the annual operation permit is $300 and can be paid online.

Pay Online Now! (Credit card or e-check accepted) 

Re-inspection Fees – During the pool season, if your swimming pool fails the permitting inspection, a $75 re-inspection fee is required prior to a second permitting visit. To pay this fee, you will need to be invoiced. Please complete the following steps:

  1. Create an account in the Permit Portal
  2. Email or call 919-856-7400 and choose option 8 to speak with an agent to have an invoice uploaded to your account.
  3. Pay the fee online.

Plan Review (New or Remodeled Swimming Pools)

Plans for new or remodeled swimming pools can now be submitted online. Click the link below to the Permit Portal to begin the application process. There is a $250 plan review fee due at the time of submittal.

Submittal Guide – This can be used to assist with the online application.

Permit Portal 

Pool Operators

All public swimming pool operators must be certified by Wake County and one of the following certified pool operator’s courses:

  • Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
  • American Swimming Pool and Spa Association, or
  • Aquatic Training Institute


To become Wake County certified, the operator must pass a test administered by the Department. Call Environmental Services at 919-856-7400 for available test times and to get signed up. We are not set up to accommodate walk-in customers for the exam. The test is based on Wake County Swimming Pool Regulations.

Wake County Certified Pool Operators

Main Drain Compliance (VGB)

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB)

Swimming pools must be compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB) before permitted to operate. Wake County requires new documentation for each public swimming pool, wading pool and spa when the original drain covers/grates are replaced at the end of their useful life rating based on the manufacturer specifications. These documents must be signed and sealed by a NC registered Engineer or Architect upon submittal to Wake County.

Steps to submit new VGB documentation:

     1.     Use the  Pool Drain Safety Compliance Data Sheet (fillable version) to provide the required information.

     2.     Review the Instructions for Submitting VGB Documentation.

     3.     Email the documentation to

To view the VGB expiration dates for each pool, view the 2024 Swimming Pool List.

To request the VGB documentation we have on file, you will need to submit a public record request to Wake County. Enter your information and a description of the request. As part of your request, include the name and address of the pool and select “VGB and Pools” for the Department. Please allow several days for processing.


Environmental Health staff investigates complaints received from the public alleging sanitation deficiencies and safety concerns associated with public swimming pools located in Wake County.

Please note that all information received by this office, except for reports containing medical information, are public records and can be reviewed by anyone making a request to view the record.​