Knox County Health Department inspectors work to keep pools safe

Knox County Health Department inspectors work to keep pools safe and clean this summer

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As temperatures rise, cooling off in the pool is one way to beat the heat, but lurking under the water can be a whole host of bacteria. As temperatures rise, cooling off in the pool is one way to beat the heat, but lurking under the water can be a whole host of bacteria.
The inspector is armed with a 34 point check list, and they look for everything from proper rescue equipment and depth markers to a working telephone to water levels. The inspector is armed with a 34 point check list, and they look for everything from proper rescue equipment and depth markers to a working telephone to water levels.
“It’s very easy for someone to contract an illness in a pool that does not have the right water chemistry, for example if the chlorine is not accurate its basically like taking a swim in a pond,” inspector Scott Bryan explained. “It’s very easy for someone to contract an illness in a pool that does not have the right water chemistry, for example if the chlorine is not accurate its basically like taking a swim in a pond,” inspector Scott Bryan explained.
Bryan tested the chlorine levels at Bridgewater Pool where was doing the inspection and found the levels were low. Bryan tested the chlorine levels at Bridgewater Pool where was doing the inspection and found the levels were low.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - As temperatures rise, cooling off in the pool is one way to beat the heat, but lurking under the water can be a whole host of bacteria.

That’s where the Knox County Health Department steps in to insure pools are safe and clean.

They inspect 600 pools in the county, once a month while they are open. That includes pools like Inskip where Krystine Herrell and her family swim every day.

“I think its important when you do come to a pool that you do take a look to see what the pool looks like because if it’s not clean than I'm a little weary,” said Herrell.

6 News got the opportunity to go out with an inspector from the health department to find out what they look for.

“The critical ones are the ones that are most likely to makes some one sick or cause an injury, the non-critical are smaller ones like issues with the floor, maybe a crack in the floor,” said inspector Scott Bryan.

The inspector is armed with a 34 point check list, and they look for everything from proper rescue equipment and depth markers to a working telephone to water levels.

“You want the lifesaving equipment to be ready and working in an emergency situation,” said Bryan.

After taking a look at hundreds of inspection reports, we found the most common critical violations are loose handrails and ladders and too low chorine levels.

“It’s very easy for someone to contract an illness in a pool that does not have the right water chemistry, for example if the chlorine is not accurate its basically like taking a swim in a pond,” he explained.

Bryan tested the chlorine levels at Bridgewater Pool where was doing the inspection and found the levels were low.

“The chlorine is low, see the color were looking for is between one to three, this looks like .5,” explained Bryan.

The maintenance crew was on site to adjust the levels.

The Health Department says an absence of chlorine is the number one reason they close pools. Which happens much more often than you might thing, usually the pool can reopen in a matter of hours once they’ve adjusted the chemicals.

As a parent though if you’re concerned, you can buy a kit at a store and test the chlorine levels yourself before allowing your kids in the pool.

At large pools like Inskip they check the chemical levels ever hour, but parents can also do their part.

“If your kid is sick, don’t bring them into the pool,” reminded Herrell.

The health department says illness can linger in your child for several days and that bacteria can shed in to the pool. They also remind parents to never let their children drink the water and of course don’t let them go to the bathroom in the pool.

“If that happens, there are guidelines that require everyone to get out of the pool for one hour and then put in high amount of chlorine to shock the system,” said Bryan.

If you find a problem at your pool, you're urged to call the Knox County Health Department at (865) 215-5000.

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