A recent report widely published in the national media revealed that approximately one out of eight public pool inspections conducted in 2008 resulted in immediate closure due to serious code violations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This report raises some really troubling information,” said Tom Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colo. “The likelihood is that pools are actually worse than what the report notes.”
In assessing the data, researchers analyzed more than 121,000 routine pool inspections in 13 states and 11 localities. The CDC team also found that more than one in 10 pools had a disinfectant violation. Inspections of child-care facility pools led to the highest number of immediate closures (17.2 percent), followed by inspections of hotel/motel pools (15.3 percent) and apartment/condo pools (12.4 percent). Inspections of kiddie/wading pools (13.5 percent) and interactive fountains (12.6 percent) showed the highest percentage of disinfectant violations.
Some experts suggest that one reason child-care and hotel/motel pools were most at fault is because the individual maintaining the pool often has other responsibilities and therefore is less likely to be properly educated.
“We need to take pool operations more seriously,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Healthy Swimming Program at CDC.
She and Lachocki agree that the report indicates a continued need for changes on a systemic level: education for all pool operators, better use of data and education for health officials, and a more proactive public.
The report was released in conjunction with CDC’s annual Recreational Water Illness Awareness campaign.