July 27, 2023
MCHD encourages being safe around community pools
MOBILE, Alabama — The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) inspected 96 commercial pools across the county last year. We have 10 inspectors who review commercial pools in our community. They ensure that the pool owner has the appropriately trained staff and safety equipment to prevent drowning and the water is safe preventing illnesses.
“Pool water is not safe to drink,” according to Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Office for Mobile County. “There are numerous outbreaks linked to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds and it is important that pool staff maintain the water to the appropriate standards.”
Brad Philips, the District Manager of MCHD’s Inspection Services, said, “We aim for three inspections during their operational season (some pools are seasonal others are year round), checking for required safety equipment (throw ring with rope, rescue pole, rope-n-float at slope break to deep end, emergency number), locking gate, bather load posted and enforced, depth markings, lighting, pH and chlorine (or other sanitizing agent), turbidity, presence of algae, Virginia Graham Baker Act drain compliance, maintenance/testing records as well as other minor code compliance items.”
Well-maintained pools are less likely to spread germs. Injuries and drownings are less likely in pools that have trained staff and adequate safety equipment. Here are some other important facts concerning pools:
• Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. Non-fatal drowning can cause brain damage resulting in learning disabilities or even permanent loss of basic functioning.
• Injuries linked to pool chemicals account for 3,000 to 5,000 emergency department visits each year. Almost half of those injured are under 18 years of age.
• Nearly 500 disease outbreaks linked to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds occurred from 2000 to 2014.
• Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of recreational water–associated outbreaks in the United States and can cause diarrhea (for up to 3 weeks).
• Recent studies found that routine inspections resulted in immediate closure of 11.8 percent (1 out of 8) of public pools and 15.1 percent (1 out of 7) of public hot tubs because of health hazards.
“Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of recreational water-associated outbreaks in the United States and can cause diarrhea for up to 3 weeks and a properly maintained pools reduce this risk,” Dr. Michaels said. He added that one study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 10 percent of public pool closures was a result of improper chlorine or bromine levels.