CDC: Alarming number of pools violate health and safety standards

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – With the unofficial start to summer quickly approaching, many people are getting ready to spend some time by the pool. Yet, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have people second guessing that.

In North Carolina, public pools have to be inspected and get an operation permit before opening. Inspectors go through various checkpoints and if a pool doesn’t meet any of the crucial requirements, it can’t open. Now, an alarming new report by the CDC shows many pools may not be meeting these standards.

The study evaluated thousands of inspection reports for public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds in the U.S. Nearly 80% violated serious health and safety guidelines. Of nearly 50,000 public pools, 1 in 8 inspections resulted in an immediate closure. The majority of those were kiddie pools, with 1 in 5 shut down immediately. The most common violations include bacteria in the water and improper pH levels.

Pitt County Environmental Health Supervisor Kent Keeter says that’s one of the biggest violations he sees in the area.

“You just want to make sure that your chemicals are appropriate so that if there is anything in that swimming pool that it can be killed by the chlorine before it really comes into contact with the kids if they swallow the water,” Keeter said.

Pitt County inspectors also focus heavily on drain safety for each of the 134 public pools in the area. Keeter says they also rely on swimmers to hold pools accountable.

“Use common sense when you go to a pool. If you don’t feel like you can get in it safely, don’t get in it. If you see those issues, call us and we will actually follow up and make sure that the rules are being followed and those things get corrected,” Keeter said.

Swimmers can also do their own inspections, whether that’s looking for safety ropes or checking pH levels with their own test strips.

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