Study: Public pools teeming with bacteria, other dangers

Josh Cascio reports

- After a first-of-its-kind study, the CDC has released new information about pool safety, and the report isn't good. 

Inspectors collected data in five states -- Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas -- from a total of  84,187 inspections at 48,632 public aquatic facilities. Sixty-six percent of these inspections were of public pools. Hot tubs, wading pools, and interactive water play venues for children were included as well.

After tallying thousands of pieces of data collected in 2013, the CDC found about 80-percent of public pool sites had at least one, sometimes more, code violations. The most common problems were things like incorrect pH levels and safety equipment issues. 

The CDC also found, 1 in 8 inspections ended up with an immediate pool closure. So, what should an average pool-goer do to stay safe and healthy? 

"I think these numbers should be concerning to parents," said FOX 13's Dr. Jo, who echoed the CDC's recommendation of bringing PH strips to pools to self-test the levels.

Proper PH and chlorine levels can help prevent nasty bacteria that can make you sick.

LINK: Read more from the CDC

Make sure you can see the drain at the bottom of the deep end. This means the water is clear enough for a lifeguard to clearly see swimmers underwater.

Look at the drain covers. They should appear secure.

A lifeguard should be on duty. If a lifeguard is not present, a rescue ring or pole must be available.

Parents should always keep an eye on their children.

If your self-inspection brings up any cause for concern, do NOT get into the water. Communicate your findings to the person in charge of the facility.

"What they're asking for are simple basic things that us who have pools do all the time," Dr. Jo said.

"When you get to the pool, make sure you shower off before you get in the pool, then check the water. If the water looks clean and fun, it probably is. If it looks murky, I probably wouldn't," said Louis Campanello, who has been working with the City of Tampa's pools for nearly 20 years.  

He says all 11, and soon to be 12 of the city's pools exceed standards.


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