CDC: 80 percent of public pools fail health inspections

CDC: 80 percent of public pools fail health inspections

PIMA COUNTY, AZ ( Tucson News Now) - A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control indicates 80 percent of the aquatic venues  inspected in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and
Texas, had at least one violation.

The report took a look at 84,187 routine inspections of 48,632 public aquatic venues in the five states.

It also stated that one in eight inspections resulted in immediate closure due to health and safety problems.

The most common issues included disinfectant concentration (11.9 percent), safety equipment (12.7 percent) and chemical safety violation (4.6 percent ).

The Pima County Health Department inspects public pools once a month, as a requirement by Arizona Department of Health Services. Semi-public pools, including those at hotels, motels, and apartment complexes, must be inspected once a year.

They look for various things during their inspection.

"A pool gate that doesn't latch properly, that doesn't self close or latch the proper height or a fence that falling down, lack of chlorine or bromine in the pool as a disinfection, pH is a big factor," said David Ludwig, program manager of consumer health and food safety for the PCHD.

Each pool is required by the county to have a certified pool operator.

In April 2016, the Pima County Health Department inspected 214 public and semi-public pools. The PCHD said 26 or 12 percent failed inspection.

This month they inspected 263 pools and 19, or 7 percent of them failed.

"Depending on your swimming load, how many kids you have in the pool, how hot it is out, how much sunshine is out,,.all these things. It takes a good management of that pool and testing it a couple of times a day to try to make sure they stay on top  of it," Ludwig said.

Billy Sassi, the aquatics program manager for the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation , said the public pools are tested before they open each day and then every hour until it closes.

"We have automated chemical controllers so that makes things so much easier. That keeps our pH and disinfectant levels right where they should be and if it drops a little bit, it feeds automatically," Sassi said.

Sassi said they're keeping an eye on things like splash pads as well.

"If the chemicals, for some reason fall off or fall out or balance at the splash pad, it will not turn on. So it's kind of a fail safe," Ludwig said.

Ludwig recommends buying test strips and checking water quality before getting in the pools. He also urges everyone to wash up before going to swimming to keep germs from spreading.

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