With warmer temperatures just around the corner, the temptation to buy a pool may set in.

But what many Washington residents don’t realize is that any pool with more than 18 inches of water requires a permit in the city.

Don Peters, manager of building inspections and permits, said the permit is required for safety reasons.

Once a permit is filed, the city will inspect the site to make sure the site is safe in all aspects.

“People are putting in pools for their family’s pleasure, but they don’t realize there’s a possibility of a tragic event if they don’t follow these national guidelines,” he said. “The $25 for a permit might help prevent tragedies.”

Peters noted that pools also must be protected on all sides by a barrier.

The only exception would be if it’s an inflatable pool and water can easily be let out of the pool, Peters said. If there is a hard wall, a barrier with a minimum height of four feet is required.

The barrier is to prevent small children from entering the pool area unsupervised, as well as to make it more difficult for unauthorized use by others.

“If kids see the nice, inviting water on a hot day and decide to jump in, maybe they’ll slip and fall or hit their head and have a possibility of drowning,” he said, adding that a fenced-in yard would count as a barrier.

Grade requirements are that surrounding grades must prevent surface water from entering the pool.

Pools must be constructed and equipped to allow it to be completely emptied of water. Connection to the sanitary sewer system is not permitted.

All electrical installations must comply with Article 680 of the National Electrical Code. Overhead wires must be a minimum of 10 feet horizontally away from the edge of the pool or 22 feet vertically above the water level. Underground wiring is not permitted.

If city officials see a violation, the homeowner will be notified. The city has the ability to fine for violations, but Peters said fining is a last resort if homeowners won’t comply with city codes.

To obtain a full copy of Washington’s swimming pool codes, people may visit the building department on the ground level of city hall, 405 Jefferson St. For more information or questions, people may call the building department, 636-390-1010.


Peters also wanted to remind citizens to anchor trampolines.

“Every spring, when we have storms come through, trampolines are an airborne projectile if they’re not properly anchored,” he said. “They fly into people’s houses, power lines and personal property.”

Peters said there is no ordinance to enforce, but people should think about safety.

“It’s common sense. People only look at one side — pleasure. They figure nothing is going to happen,” he said. “But 20- to 30-mile-per-hour straight line winds is all you need.”

Peters said many area storms produce 50- to 60-mile-per-hour winds.

“They’re a hazard if they’re not taken care of properly,” he said.

Trampolines don’t come with the necessary anchors, but Peters said they’re relatively inexpensive and wouldn’t be a deal-breaker to those wishing to purchase one.