PITTSBURGH - Whether it's a community pool or one at a hotel, how do you know the water is safe and clean?
“I'll check and see if it's clean-looking,” said Linda Jones of Haymaker, who brought her three grandchildren to the Bel-Aire Pool in Monroeville.
“Water is a medium in which pathogens, germs, disease can be transmitted,” said Jeff O’Brien.
O’Brien is among 15 inspectors from the Allegheny County Health Department responsible for inspecting 600 pools and hot tubs in the county. That includes community facilities, as well as those in gyms, schools, apartments, and hotels.
Each pool must be inspected at least once a year , and it comes without warning.
Aside from checking overall maintenance, inspectors make sure the water is being turned over enough, so it doesn't become stagnant.
“We're looking for a gallon per minute,” said O’Brien.
They also test the water for chlorine, PH, and other disinfectant chemicals.
If a problem is found, the inspector can shut down the pool immediately.
Channel 11 requested Allegheny County pool inspection reports for the last three years and found pools and hot tubs were temporarily closed 143 times, mostly for improper chlorine or bromine levels, or poor clarity.
Seventeen facilities were closed on two annual visits.
And one facility, the Pittsburgh Golf Club in Squirrel Hill, was temporarily closed five times during those three years.
"All of those issues have been resolved. We feel those are issues that will never happen again,” said General Manager Dan Brennan.
Operators can reopen as quickly as they fix the problem.
Pool operators also must perform and track their own tests throughout the day, which then get turned over to a certified lab.
If you're concerned about any pool open to the public you can request documentation from the operator, including inspection and bacteria reports.