Diarrhea Signs (And Others) Now Required for California Condo and HOA Swimming Pools

February 8, 2013 by David C. Swedelson

By Alexander Noland, Esq. and Priya Aggarwal, Esq., Community Association Attorneys at SwedelsonGottlieb

diarrhea.jpgHave you heard the latest regarding new required pool signage at California community association pools? Our attorneys have been receiving a lot of inquiries about whether a new “poop sign” is required to be posted at community associations that have pools. We have to report that a diarrhea sign is now required. In 2012, the California Building Standards Code (the “Code”) was amended, effective September 1, 2012. The Code states that it applies to “public pools.” At first glance, one would think that just as the Americans with Disabilities Act does not generally apply to community associations, as they are not “places of public accommodation”, the Code also does not apply to community associations. However, it is made clear in the scope of the Code that it applies to condominiums, townhomes, and homeowners associations. (See Section 3101B.)

We have reviewed the Code, and below is an inclusive list of the signs which are required by the Code at Section 3120B. If your community association has one or more pools, we recommend double-checking that you have the appropriate signage. Else, you may face enforcement measures by your local government officials.

All signs shall have clearly legible letters or numbers not less than 4 inches high, unless otherwise noted, and shall be affixed to a wall, pole, gate or similar permanent structure in a location visible to all pool users.

• Pool User Capacity Sign: A sign shall indicate the maximum number of pool users permitted for each pool. (3120B.2) This requirement does not apply to wading pools or spray grounds.

• No Diving Sign: Signs shall be posted in conspicuous places and shall state, “NO DIVING” at pools with a maximum water depth of six feet or less. (3120B.3)

• No Lifeguard Sign: Where no lifeguard is provided, a warning sign shall be posted stating, “WARNING: NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY.” The sign also shall state in letters at least one inch high, “Children under the age of 14 shall not use pool without a parent or adult guardian in attendance.” (3120B.4)

• Artificial Respiration and CPR Sign: An illustrated diagram with text at least ¼ inch high of artificial respiration and CPR procedures shall be posted. (3120B.5)

• Emergency Sign: The emergency telephone number 911, the number of the nearest emergency services and the name and street address of the pool facility shall be posted. (3120B.6)

• Warning Sign for a Spa Pool: A warning sign for spa pools shall be posted stating, “CAUTION” and shall include the following language in letters at least one inch high:
- Elderly persons, pregnant women, infants and those with health conditions requiring medical care should consult with a physician before entering the spa.
- Unsupervised use by children under the age of 14 is prohibited.
- Hot water immersion while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, drugs or medicines may lead to serious consequences and is not recommended.
- Do not use alone.
- Long exposure may result in hyperthermia, nausea, dizziness or fainting. (3120B.7)

• Emergency Shut Off: In letters at least one inch high, a sign shall be posted at the spa emergency shut off switch stating, “EMERGENCY SHUT OFF SWITCH.” (3120B.8)

• No Use After Dark: Where pools were constructed for which lighting was not required, a sign shall be posted at each pool entrance on the outside of the gate(s) stating, NO USE OF POOL ALLOWED AFTER DARK.” (3120B.9)

• Keep Closed: A sign shall be posted on the exterior side of gates and doors leading into the pool enclosure area stating, “KEEP CLOSED.” (3120B.10)

• Diarrhea: A sign in letters at least one inch high and in a language or diagram that is clearly stated shall be posted at the entrance area of a public pool which states that persons having currently active diarrhea or who have had active diarrhea within the previous 14 days shall not be allowed to enter the pool water. (3120B.11)

• Wave pools: A sign in letters at least one inch high shall be posted that describes the requirements for wave pools as described in Section 115952, Health and Safety Code. (3120B.12)

• Spray Ground Sign: A sign shall be posted at each spray ground and be visible from any part of the spray ground that states, “CAUTION: WATER IS RECIRCULATED. DO NOT DRINK.” (3120B.13)

• Exit: Where automatic gaseous chlorine chemical feeders are used, a sign shall be posted at the pool area entrance, which shows in a diagrammatic form an emergency evacuation procedure. Designated emergency exits shall be marked “EXIT.” (3120B.14)

• Gaseous Oxidizer: Where automatic gaseous chlorine chemical feeders are used, a warning sign with the appropriate hazard identification symbol shall be posted on the exterior side of the door entering the chemical feeder room or area. The sign shall state, “DANGER: GASEOUS OXIDIZER - (specific chemical name),” or as otherwise required by the California Fire Code. (3120B.15)

• Turn on before entering: Where automatic gaseous chemical feeders are used, a sign shall be posted at the switch to the light and ventilation system for the gaseous chemical feeder room stating, “TURN ON BEFORE ENTERING,” or as otherwise required by the California Fire Code or the California Electrical Code. (3120B.16)

• Direction of flow: The direction of flow for the recirculation equipment shall be labeled clearly with directional symbols such as arrows on all piping in the equipment area. Where the recirculation equipment for more than one pool is located on site, the equipment shall be marked as to which pool the system serves. Valves and plumbing lines shall be labeled clearly with the source or destination descriptions. (3120B.17)

In addition to confirming that your pool(s) have the appropriate signage, we recommend consulting with your pool vendor to ensure the other requirements are met as well (pool construction, lighting, depth markers, etc.). And no, there is no requirement that an association test or inquire as to when a pool user last had a loose bowel movement.

For more information, please visit the California Department of Public Health’s website.