CDC warns public about public pool dangers

Published: May. 29, 2016 at 8:58 PM CDT
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The beginning of summer for many families means the sound of children splashing around at their local pool, and for many Topekan's this means taking their families to the Shawnee North Family Aquatic Center.

“So far, here at Shawnee North, it has been great. I love it and there’s nothing I can complain about," local parent, Josephine Jackson said.

However, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control came out earlier this month saying that nearly 80 percent of public swimming pools and hot tubs fail health inspections, forcing thousands of public pools to be closed.

“It’s kind of gross, it’s not healthy at all. I don’t want to be at a pool where it's dirty," local parent, Jasmine Torres said. "It’s a family pool and we should be able to freely go there."

Staff at the Family Aquatic Center say their pool is safe for all and families should not have to worry about using their facilities.

“Staff comes in at 7 a.m. in the morning, they check the pools and make sure the pool is balanced," said Shawnee North Family Aquatic Center Supervisor, David Allacher. "Once we open the pool to the public we check it every two hours. When people get in, it messes with chemical balance; you have the sweat from the heat, hair product residue, sunscreen, that gets all caught into the filter and we keep up with that filter.

The CDC recommends parents to follow the following checklist when they are visiting any pools.

- 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.

For more on the CDC's report click on the link.