In a move that could be a harbinger for the state, Westchester County, N.Y., has adopted the state?s ultraviolet sanitation system requirement for commercial pools with waterfeatures.
The action came after the state approved a new emergency code following an outbreak that sickened nearly 4,000 people in Lake Geneva, N.Y., in summer 2005. Far south in affluent Westchester, all new commercial pools or major renovations with interactive spray features now must be equipped with UV in addition to a chemical sanitizing system.
?We?re a forward-looking health department, and we?ve always been on the cutting edge with technology,? said Gregory Carmichael, Ph.D., deputy commissioner of health for the county.
Westchester doesn?t plan to enforce retrofitting on existing pools. ?Many of them have safeguards built in, such as lifeguards [who] see children drinking from the spray features,? Carmichael said, stating the burden would be too much. Signs instructing people about hygiene and not drinking pool water also will be posted.
Carmichael said that facility operators are already well aware of UV?s benefits and may decide to install them on their own. Every year before swim season, the county holds training classes for operators and camp owners about the risks involved in running a pool.
The county may set an example for the rest of the state and possibly the nation to follow. ?I think what will happen is, the state is waiting to see how it works out here ? and pass it statewide,? Carmichael said.