More Public Swimming Pools Are a Cause for Concern This Summer
As the summer heats up, more parents have begun taking their families to public swimming pools; from New York City to Houston, the heat and humidity reached abnormally high levels in the past few weeks and made the weather stifling. But the one problem that many families have discovered is that public pools are often contaminated and fail to pass inspections for safety and sanitation.
NBC New York recently reported that “dozens of public health violations” were issued during 2013 and during 2014 for the New York City Parks and Recreation public pools. These violations ranged from lack of supervisory staff to a lack of proper filtration and disinfection equipment.
In one case, NBC reported that the Astoria Pool in Queens has had 10 health and safety violations in the past couple of years. Five of the violations were considered “critical” for various reasons, including having inadequate water test kits, lacking valid pool operator certificates, and keeping the pool open despite hazardous chlorine levels.
While residents and recent pool visitors told NBC News that the Astoria pool looked clean, one visitor stated that he “would not come again” if he knew that the pool was violating so many health and safety codes.
Unfortunately, this problem isn’t limited to New York City.
Click Orlando recently reported that the Florida Department of Health found multiple violations of pool regulations in Orange County public schools. In fact, only 62% of the inspections over the past year received a rating of “satisfactory,” according to the news outlet.
And in Texas, the situation is just as bleak. KVUE News reported that inspectors closed down about 2,000 public pools in the city of Austin over the past 3.5 years because of safety violations. During 2014, 162 pools were closed; so far, this year there have been 46 pools shut down. The inspections include pools run by the city and located in hotels, apartment complexes, or public activity areas.
Of the complaints, it appears that the most common violations are related to chlorination levels of the pool water and adequate lifesaving equipment in the pool area. While there are many chemicals that can be just as effective as chlorine, such as Ozone, which is up to 3,000 times more effective than regular chlorine, public pools often ignore these safety precautions because — as the Astoria visitor stated — the public pools look clean.