Tennessee Laws for Private Swimming Pools

By Kara Chance ; Updated June 01, 2017
Swimming pool at private residence with fence

In Tennessee, a private swimming pool is an artificial pool or tank owned by a single person or family that is intended for private use. Tennessee regulates swimming pools through a variety of permitting and zoning rules. These regulations are designed to promote safe conditions in private pools and keep accidents from occurring. Following Tennessee regulations will help protect both swimmers and pool owners.


In Tennessee, all builders of private swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas containing more than 24 cubic inches of water are required to obtain a building permit. This building permit is available from the county building inspector. To get this permit, either the pool owner or the building contractor must create a site plan. This site plan must describe the proposed construction work and the electrical and septic requirements of the pool, and demonstrate that the pool will be located wholly on the owner's property. Most counties will assess a permit fee, with the amount varying depending on location.


Tennessee also has regulations detailing how a pool must be built based on zoning and sanitary concerns. A pool builder must ensure at least a 25-foot setback between an in-ground pool and any septic tanks. An in-ground pool must be built at least 5 feet from the edge of the owner's property line. For aboveground pools, the applicant must create a 10-foot setback from all septic tanks. Aboveground pools do not have to be set back from the edge of the property line. The pool builder should include information about the location of septic tanks when he applies for a pool building permit from his county.


To prevent accidents, all private swimming pools in Tennessee must have a 4-foot barrier or fence surrounding the pool. This barrier should keep out children or people who cannot swim. For aboveground pools, the sides of the pool can act as the barrier, as long as the sides have a removable ladder. If the owner decides to install a deck around the pool, a 4 foot gate must be built to prevent direct access to the pool. Further, if there is direct access to the pool from a private home, a door alarm should be installed that will sound for 30 seconds when the door to the pool area is opened.

About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Kara Chance is currently a researcher and legal assistant. She started writing professionally in 2002, and her articles have appeared in "Business Wire," "Ecology Law Quarterly" and the "Daily O'Collegian." She has a Master of Arts in English from University College-Dublin, and a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Oklahoma State University.