May 23, 2002
Memorial Day Marks Opening of Many Mecklenburg County Pools
ENCOURAGES HEALTHY PRACTICES AT SWIMMING POOLS
Charlotte, NC— As citizens celebrate Memorial Day, many will relax in or near a swimming pool. Most public pools in Mecklenburg County are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Health Department is encouraging citizens to practice healthy and safe habits while enjoying swimming pools this summer.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department conducts inspections of public pools, regulates their construction and responds to citizen concerns to help ensure that these pools are safe and sanitary. But the Health Department also encourages pool users and owners to take personal responsibility for health and safety.
A public pool is any pool that is not in the backyard of a single-family home intended for use by the family and their guests. The Health Department estimates there are more than 1,100 public swimming pools, wading pools and whirlpools in Mecklenburg County. Each must be inspected and receive a valid permit to operate.
For the past two years, the County has issued permit stickers similar to those used for automobiles. The permit stickers are to be posted on the pool rules sign at each pool. Patrons can check the date of each sticker to assure that a pool has a current operating permit. Also, a telephone must be located in the pool area and available for use in an emergency.
During the unannounced inspection, Health Department inspectors check six critical items and several non-critical items. These six critical items involve
appropriate chemical disinfectant levels, pool water pH, clarity of pool water, main drain repair and operation, water temperature for heated pools or whirlpools, and sufficient safety equipment available. If violations of these six critical items can’t be corrected during the inspection, the pool permit will be suspended and the pool will be closed until the items are corrected and the pool passes re-inspection.
Swimmers who use public pools and families who own their own pools should be knowledgeable about and practice pool safety. If hazards are observed, leave the water and notify the responsible person of the problem. New information on E. coli and crytosporidium infections in recent years have brought increasing concerns about pool water quality. The following guidelines will help to increase pool safety and reduce exposure to disease.
· Children in diapers should wear snug fitting rubber pants over the diaper.
· Toddlers should wear close-fitting swimsuits.
· Do not change diapers at poolside.
· Young children should make frequent trips to the restroom.
· After using the restroom or changing a child’s diapers, wash your hands thoroughly using soap and warm water.
· Do not drink pool water.
· Anyone who has had diarrhea in the previous two weeks should not go into the pool.
Anyone with questions about the construction of a residential or public pool or concerns about a public pool safety and health in Mecklenburg County can call
704-336-5100 during normal business hours. You can also check the Web site
www.meckhealth.org and look under “environmental health/food and facilities sanitation.”