July 2, 2004
Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department's Pool Inspection Division recently received a national study reporting that more than 50 percent of spas and hot tubs inspected nationally do not meet basic inspection guidelines.
In Mecklenburg County, that number is lower. Of the 1,241 public swimming facilities operating in the County, 126 are classified as spas/whirlpools. The Mecklenburg County Health Department has inspected approximately 100 pools so far this season; 10 percent of those facilities had violations that resulted in the immediate suspension of their operating permits.
Violations that result in immediate permit suspension include:
- lack of a disinfectant residual in the pool,
- cloudy pool water that prevents the bottom of the pool being visible, and
- pool circulation system not operating.
Of the facilities inspected, approximately 40 percent have resulted in the Department issuing a notice of intent to suspend the permit. The notice gives the operator 30 days to correct violations. Although the violations could rise to the level of an imminent hazard, the majority simply involves changes needed to come into compliance, and often result from facilities having not completed modifications that are required by changing rules.
Pools and spas can be safe and fun for recreation if properly maintained. Disinfectants and filtration systems will remove the majority of pathogenic organisms.
Important points to remember when swimming in pools, spas or wading pools are:
- Make sure the facility has a valid operating permit. Pools in Mecklenburg County are required to place a sticker with the expiration date of the current permit on a "pool rules" sign that is readily visible in the pool area.
- Do not swim, or allow children to do so, if ill or have diarrhea or loose stools.
- Those persons who are immune-compromised may choose not to enter a public pool.
- Look for pool water that is clear before entering to avoid any visible dangers.
- Observe the rules posted at the pool. They are for your health and the health of others.
- If you are unsure of the condition of a pool, ask a manager or other person responsible about how the pool is being maintained.
Questions about public swimming pools can be directed to the Mecklenburg County Health Department at (704) 336-5100.
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Media Contact: Andy Fair at 704-432-0021 or