Is the pool you use safe? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is the pool you use safe?

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May 24, 2006

Albany - - Now that school is out, many children are heading to area pools to have fun and cool off from the heat. But do you know how safe the pool is that your child goes swimming in? 

Many times when you go to the pool, the water is nice and blue. It may even be sparkling. That's not an indicator though of how safe it is. A well treated pool can't be determined by simply waving your hand and you certainly can't tell by swimming in it.

3 year old Noah feels like his day isn't complete unless he takes a trip to the YMCA.

"This one says I want to go swimming about everyday," says Noah's mother April Chapel. So mom has to accomdate that request - especially since it's summertime for schools.

"We go about once or twice a week."

Yet, little do many people realize , there are national outbreaks of water borne illnesses each year.

"If the chlorine isn't where it should be or if the ph isn't where it should be, then we would ask them to shut the pool down," says Dougherty County Health Inspector Jim Pericaud.

They inspect about 40 public pools during this time of year and they're looking for germs that could be harmful. He waves a chemical indicator in the water and with the drop of a test solution, he knows if the pool is up to par.

"You can definitely tell there's chlorine in this water." And it's balanced - meaning the Ph level is properly mixed with enough disinfectant to prevent diseases like cholera, botulism, even Hepatitis A.

"Make sure that the chemicals are balanced because thats the most important thing when it comes to preventing communicable disease."

Parents can have some peace of mind when the chemicals are balanced.

"That's very important. I wouldn't want my children to contract any diseases from the water. I want to know that its clean and maintained well," Chapel says.

Not to worry mom, this pool passed the test. And little Noah, certainly isn't complaining.

Each year places with public pools  have to re-apply for a permit. That's when the Health Department comes out and makes sure the pool is properly treated. After that, inspectors come back at least once during the year un-announced to make sure the water is still safe.

Pool operators are supposed to test their pools several times a day - so if there's any question about that, you can simply contact the health department and request to find out if the pool you used passed its last pool inspection.

The health department says it tests a number of public pools, including hotels and parks - but they do NOT test pools at apartment complexes. If you're concerned about your apartment's pool, you can contact your leasing office and ask how often they treat the water.

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