KOLD INVESTIGATES: Who's keeping swimming pools safe in Pima Cou - Tucson News Now

KOLD INVESTIGATES: Who's keeping swimming pools safe in Pima County

Varying degrees of testing and inspections are meant to keep the more than 2,500 public and semi-public pools in Pima County safe. (Source: Eugeniu / Pixabay) Varying degrees of testing and inspections are meant to keep the more than 2,500 public and semi-public pools in Pima County safe. (Source: Eugeniu / Pixabay)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The heat in southern Arizona makes a dip in the pool a popular option for staying cool.

Varying degrees of testing and inspections are meant to keep the more than 2,500 public and semi-public pools in Pima County safe.

There were 568 pool closures across the county in 2016, according to Pima County Health Department records. With 4,450 inspections, that leaves a 12.8 percent failure rate.

That's close to the national average of 12.5 percent reported by the Centers for Disease Control, according to PCHD Emergency Preparedness and Communications Manager Aaron Pacheco.

A closure is not final.

It simply means the area is unsafe and will only reopen when corrections are made to the pool, water or the surrounding area.

Staff at public pools, like those owned and operated by Pima County or city of Tucson, are required to test the chlorine and pH levels of the pool once every hour they are open, according to Environmental Health Specialist Mary Steffen-Deaton.

She said those test are kept in a log and they're part of the pool's monthly inspection by one of the 26 field inspectors who check on pools around the county.

Semi-public pools, like those owned and operated by apartment complexes, hotels or homeowners associations, are required to be inspected once a year, but Pacheco said the county's expectation is twice a year.

The chemical tests for semi-public pools aren't as frequent either, with only two tests daily. Steffen-Deaton said those results are logged as well.

A lack of proper pool chemicals or a pH imbalance are common causes for closure, Pacheco said.

There are just as many, if not more, potential issues outside of the water that could cause a pool to close.

Steffen-Deaton pointed out requirement after requirement for management to meet in order to pass an inspection. They included:

  • Certifications for lifeguards, if they're on duty
  • Two lifeguards per public pool, plus additional ones for every 25 swimmers
  • A first-aid kit and stretcher or backboards in case of an emergency
  • Securely fastened railings around the pool
  • Proper tile markings on the edges and bottom of the pool to indicate depth and steps
  • Fencing around the pool that's at least 6-foot high with gaps no wider than 4 inches
  • A self-latching gate to prevent potential drownings
  • Working filtration systems to show water returning to the pool is clean
  • Accessible life-saving devices like a shepherd's hook and a life preserver

Inspecting pools is just one part of her job description. Steffen-Deaton said she balances the pool visits between hospitals, hotels, restaurants and mobile home parks.

INSPECTION REPORTS

Look at the inspection reports for the past two months on the Pima County Permitting and Inspections page. Look for "Consumer Health & Food Safety monthly report."

MOBILE USERS: Download our Tucson News Now app for Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Tucson Fire: Kitchen fire claims the life of 2 dogs

    Tucson Fire: Kitchen fire claims the life of 2 dogs

    Thursday, January 18 2018 11:56 PM EST2018-01-19 04:56:51 GMT
    Damage from the fire inside the home. (Source: Tucson Fire Department)Damage from the fire inside the home. (Source: Tucson Fire Department)

    A fire, caused by an electrical malfunction, has claimed the lives of two pets in midtown, near Miracle Mile and Flowing Wells, according to a news release from the Tucson Fire Department.  

    A fire, caused by an electrical malfunction, has claimed the lives of two pets in midtown, near Miracle Mile and Flowing Wells, according to a news release from the Tucson Fire Department.  

  • Police: Muslim women attacked, threatened near campus

    Police: Muslim women attacked, threatened near campus

    Thursday, January 18 2018 10:58 PM EST2018-01-19 03:58:18 GMT
    Manuel Lewis (Source: Tucson Police Department)Manuel Lewis (Source: Tucson Police Department)

    Tucson police have arrested a man who they say attacked a group of Muslim women sitting at a Starbucks on University Boulevard. 

    Tucson police have arrested a man who they say attacked a group of Muslim women sitting at a Starbucks on University Boulevard. 

  • Tucson adding more HAWK lights to protect pedestrians

    Tucson adding more HAWK lights to protect pedestrians

    Thursday, January 18 2018 10:46 PM EST2018-01-19 03:46:33 GMT
    HAWK light in Tucson (Source: City of Tucson)HAWK light in Tucson (Source: City of Tucson)

    Following a record number of pedestrian deaths in 2017, the city is planning to add another 13 HAWK lights scattered around Tucson.

    Following a record number of pedestrian deaths in 2017, the city is planning to add another 13 HAWK lights scattered around Tucson.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Abuse in house of torture was 'severe, pervasive, prolonged'

    Abuse in house of torture was 'severe, pervasive, prolonged'

    Thursday, January 18 2018 2:44 AM EST2018-01-18 07:44:12 GMT
    Friday, January 19 2018 2:28 AM EST2018-01-19 07:28:20 GMT

    The grandparents say they are still in shock from learning that their son and his wife were arrested this week after their children, ages 2 to 29, were found malnourished with some in shackles.

    The grandparents say they are still in shock from learning that their son and his wife were arrested this week after their children, ages 2 to 29, were found malnourished with some in shackles.

Powered by Frankly