"Ideal for chlorine is between one and 2 parts per million," says Eubanks.
Like restaurants, pools are required to post their inspection scores. That gives parents like Patrick Duggan confidence their children are safe.
"It smells clean and of course like I said I see them out here 2 or 3 times every time when I'm here checking water levels," says Duggan.
Every commercial pool in the city is tested at least 3 times a day to ensure the chemicals in the water are sufficient to kill anything that might make you or your family sick, but at the YMCA they actually test every hour. Pools that fail inspection are shut down. Last month it happened at the Holiday Inn Select near Vanderbilt. Operators had done almost everythign right, earning a score of 94, but inspectors closed the pool after measuring chlorine at 0 parts per million, a critical violation.
"A pool can be a wonderful pool today but tomorrow can be very unhealthy," says Director of Public Facilities Inspection at Metro Health Department Spencer Hissam.
Hissam says most operators are back in compliance within days, but a pool at Whitland Place Condominiums off West End fails inspeciton every month and it's never shut down.
"There's a state law that basically tells us we cannot close that pool regardless if they comply with safety requirements or not," says Hissam.
It's a little-known statute that allows pools at condo complexes and neighborhood associations that fail inspection to stay open by posting a sign that says THIS POOL FAILS TO MEET MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS BY THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT.
"It may be a very minor violation that really is not gonna be a huge health or safety issue but it could be very significant," says Hissam.
The pool at this condo had 5 critical violations. The water was clean but the fence supports on the inside of the pool are a tripping hazard. There's not enough light around the pool and the list goes on.
"The float is damaged on the lifeline," says Eubanks. "There's no telephone at the pool and the most current inspection report is not posted."
"I think the pool is safe," says Rob Cox, who's been living in the complex about 3 months. "Obviously it's left up to you know the user's discretion and for the most part I have really responsible neighbors. There's not a lot going on."
"My message to people that are going to these pools is don't ignore that sign," says Hissam. "You really need to take a look at that and dig deep before you let your children play in that pool."
If you live in a condo or a neighborhood that has a sign like that at the pool, you need to understand you really are swimming at your own risk. In Nashville, you can call the Health Department and find out exactly why your pool failed inspection. The number to call is 340-5630.
Friday, July 22 2011, 01:48 AM CDT
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