Variance Information

A variance is an approval or waiver issued by the Department that authorizes a deviation from one or more requirements of the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) for the construction or modification of a public or semi-public pool, wading pool or special use pool, spa or artificial bathing lake if, in the opinion of the Department, a health hazard, safety or nuisance will not result from the deviation.


A variance can be granted if the requirements of Chapter VI, "Bathing Places - Public and Semipublic Swimming Pools" of the MCEHC is more restrictive than the requirements of Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) Title 18, Chapter 5, Article 2 (PDF), "Public and Semi-Public Swimming Pools and Spas" and/or AAC Title 9, Chapter 8, Article 8 (PDF), "Public and Semi-Public Swimming Pools and Bathing Places".

Obtaining a Variance

Variances are typically requested when an unusual or unreasonable hardship exists resulting from a literal interpretation of the rules and regulations. A separate variance must be obtained for each deviation from the requirements of the MCEHC. A variance may be granted provided that the proposed alternative method or work conforms to the general intent of the rules and regulations.

Reference Tool

To assist you, the Department has posted a Reference Tool (PDF) for commonly submitted pool and spa features that are not addressed in the regulations. The document provides design guidance for a list of features that can be approved in plan review without a variance, and features that can be approved through a time-saving, direct appeal variance process. It also lists features that must be submitted through the formal variance process. Typical stipulations are included for each variance.

Application, Forms & Resources

  1. Aquatic Health & Safety Plan Review/Construction

    Fax 602-506-1837

  2. Aquatic Health & Safety Compliance Inspections

    Fax 602-506-1837

  3. Environmental Services Department