Worried about pool maintenance? The CDC has you covered.

Jason Van Steenwyk
Jason Van Steenwyk | 3 min. read

Published on June 30, 2016

It’s just about July, which means school is out and the kids are ready to jump in the pool. Which means: pool maintenance is critical. A broken filter is just not something you want to deal with when the temperatures climb above 100.

And remember, pool and hot tub maintenance isn’t just about convenience—it’s about safety, too.

For example, in 2012, three British men were killed and another eighteen people fell ill after contracting Legionnaires’ disease from a hot tub that hadn’t been cleaned or filtered in weeks. The stagnant water in a display model hot tub allowed Legionella bacteria to build up. When the jets were turned on, droplets of water spread throughout the area, sickening many people.

But even if you’re already careful about pool maintenance, you may find that there’s bacteria where you don’t want it. More than half of all spas inspected are in violation of local environmental health ordinances, and about 1 out of every nine spas require immediate closure, according to data from the CDC.

That means: even if you use chlorine to disinfect, even if you don’t let pets in the pool, and even if you require that all toddlers wear swimming diapers, your common area pool might be a breeding ground for bacteria.

So, here’s what you can do.

Invest in pool safety training for at least one staff member, and send him or her to a pool/spa operator certification program. Here, they’ll learn how to collect and test water samples for bacteria, pH, and chlorination levels.

That way, even if you use an outside vendor for pool cleaning and maintenance, you’ll have at least one staffer who can spot critical red flags that may otherwise be invisible to the uneducated eye.

Additionally, HOAs and condo associations can establish a pool committee to focus on the following items:

  • Updating and distributing pool rules and rule changes, including hours
  • Learning local laws and regulations concerning pool areas
  • Conducting or arranging for periodic inspections and testing
  • Scheduling tasks and making sure their maintenance services are carried out
  • Monitoring access, chemical storage and pool furniture storage
  • Assessing the need for lifeguards and managing that staff if needed
  • Monitoring restroom, locker and shower facilities and ensuring they are clean
  • Ensuring a clear demarcation of responsibilities between the property manager and the pool vendor
  • Monitoring rule enforcement and fielding any complaints and issues

What about a lifeguard? Do you need one?

You may, if your community is large enough and your pool is popular enough. Students home for summer break may be the perfect employees!

Okay, one last thing…

Sometimes, accidents happen. Yup, those kind of accidents.

They can make for a pretty bad day, but the CDC has outlined what to do in case you find fecal matter (or worse! You may find a dead bird, mouse, or frog in your filter) in the community pool. Be sure to print them out and put them in the binder where you keep all of your pool safety procedures.

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Jason Van Steenwyk

Jason is a freelance writer and editor, as well as an avid fiddler. His articles have been published in a number of real estate publications including Wealth and Retirement Planner and Bankrate.com. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with his cat, Sasha, and an unknown number of musical instruments.

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