05/20/2016 - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – As summer officially begins, the government is releasing some findings that could make you think twice before you take a dip in a public pool. The Centers for Disease Control analyzed more than 84,000 inspections of public pools and hot tubs in the five states with the most pools. It found at least one violation in nearly 80 percent of them.
The CDC says one in eight inspections resulted in immediate closure because of serious health violations. One in five kiddie pools were shut down. The pools were located in Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas. The report shows the most common violations involved improper pH levels, safety equipment and disinfectant concentration. The agency says nearly a third of local health departments don't regulate or inspect public pools.
It says swimmers should be cautious before entering the water.
When visiting public or private pools, swimmers and parents of young swimmers can complete their own inspection using a short and easy checklist that will identify some of the most common health and safety problems:
- Use a test strip (available at most superstores or pool-supply stores) to determine if the pH and free chlorine or bromine concentration are correct. CDC recommends:
- Free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs/spas.
- Free bromine concentration of at least 3 ppm in pools and at least 4 ppm in hot tubs/spas.
- pH of 7.2–7.8.
- Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible. Clear water allows lifeguards and other swimmers to see swimmers underwater who might need help.
- Check that drain covers appear to be secured and in good repair. Swimmers can get trapped underwater by a loose or broken drain cover.
- Confirm that a lifeguard is on duty at public venues. If not, check whether safety equipment like a rescue ring with rope or pole is available.
If you find problems, do not get into the water and tell the person in charge so the problems can be fixed. For more information and other healthy and safe swimming steps, visit www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming.