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Residential Swimming Pools and Spas

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Requirements and recommendations

Proper construction, maintenance and supervision helps prevent accidents, illnesses and injuries that could be associated with your pool.


A pool is a structure, basin, chamber or tank containing an artificial body of water for swimming, diving or recreational bathing, which is more than 75 sq. ft. (surface area) or more than 24 in. in depth. This includes most swimming pools, spas, hot tubs or special purpose pools.

The following code requirements and recommendations will help ensure your pool does not create a health hazard, safety hazard or nuisance.

Construction and location standards required by law

Review the below information and contact the City of Minnetonka to determine the applicable rules and regulations prior to pool construction.


The following items are code requirements that must be complied with for all new existing pools:

  • Permits must be obtained from the city for any work. Any person hired to perform this work must be a licensed contractor.
  • Swimming pools, pool aprons and pool equipment (pumps, filters, etc.) must conform to required setbacks from the property line. Contact the Planning Department for specific requirements applicable to your property.

2015 Minnesota Energy Code Requirements

R403.9 Pools and Inground Permanently Installed Spas (Mandatory)

Pools and inground permanently installed spas shall comply with sections R403.9.1 through R403.9.3

R403.9.1 Heaters. All heaters shall be equipped with a readily accessible on-off switch that is mounted outside of the heater to allow shutting off the heater without adjust­ing the thermostat setting. Gas-fired heaters shall not be equipped with constant burning pilot lights.

R403.9.2 Time Switches. Time switches or other control method that can automatically turn off and on heaters and pumps according to a preset schedule shall be installed on all heaters and pumps. Heaters, pumps and motors that have built-in timers shall be deemed in compliance with this requirement.


  1. Where public health standards require 24-hour pump operation.
  2. Where pumps are required to operate solar- and waste-heat-recovery pool heating systems.

R403.9.3 Covers. Heated pools and inground permanently installed spas shall be provided with a vapor-retardant cover.

Exception: Pools deriving over 70 percent of the energy for heating from site-recovered energy, such as a heat pump or solar energy source computed over an operating season.

R403.12 Photovoltaic Modules and Systems: Installation of photovoltaic modules and systems shall meet the require­ments of Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1315.

Pool GuidelinesFences

A fence that cannot be climbed that is at least five feet tall is required to surround any outdoor pool (swimming pool, spa, hot tub, etc.). A vertical wood board or 11-gauge woven chain link fence are possible fence options.

Openings in vertical fencing may not exceed four inches. The openings between the bottom of the fence and the ground or surface may not exceed three inches. If a gate is used, it must be self-closing and self-latching. A lack of effective barriers is one of the main causes of drownings.

Examples of approved barrier installation are shown in the below image.

Please refer to fencing requirements for more information.

Pool operation recommendations

Implementing the following recommendations can prevent common problems with pools:

  • Provide proper supervision when children are swimming or present in the pool area. Children’s use of personal flotation devices should not replace adult supervision.
  • Do not swim alone. A second person should always be available in case a problem occurs.
  • Maintain proper pool water (chemical) balance. An adequate disinfectant should be present in the pool at all times. Although several disinfectant types are available, chlorine is the most common.
  • Clean filter. Make sure the filter and media are clean and backwashed to remove dirt, oils, organic materials and similar material to enable the disinfectant o destroy harmful organisms.
  • Persons with contagious diseases should not use the pool. Bacterial rashes, gastrointestinal illnesses and eye/ear/throat illnesses can be spread through pool use.
  • Not everyone can use a hot water pool. Persons with heart disease, pregnant women and the elderly should check with their physicians before using hot water pools or hot tubs. Child and infant use of hot water pools should be restricted.
  • Do not dive into shallow water. Pool users should not dive into shallow areas or pools not designed for diving. Inexperienced divers and inadequate diving areas can lead to serious head or spin injuries, paralysis and even death.

Proper handling of chemicals

  • Read labels and following manufacturer directions.
  • Chemicals should be stored in covered containers, separate from each other, off the floor and in secured areas away from water sources. The empty containers must be rinsed and disposed of.
  • Unused chemicals should be disposed of properly. Do not place pool chemicals in garbage cans, streets, wetlands or similar areas. Pool chemicals can be used up in the pool or taken to a Hennepin County Hazards Water Drop-off Center.

Other applicable codes

Occasionally city staff receive complaints regarding a swimming pool or spa. Below is a list of common complaints and applicable requirements. 

Common complaints and applicable requirements


More information

Please refer any questions or problems relating to the maintenance and operation of pool water or equipment to your pool company.

Call 952-939-8394 with questions regarding permits or city ordinances.

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