Swimming pools are fun, especially when outside is hot and cooling down is essential. Neighborhood pool safety initiatives usually focus on physical safety and the prevention of accidents in and around the water. However, water quality safety is just as important and requires more attention by officials, guardians and children.
Neighborhood Pool Safety
Water quality is a major concern with respect to neighborhood pool safety. Neighborhood pools that are not properly maintained may contain a number of germs. These germs can cause infections which may lead to illness or skin conditions. Before you go swimming, check to see if the water is cloudy. Cloudy water is a sign that the water is not safe.
Neighborhood pools and other public swimming pools are regulated and must follow specific requirements. One of these requirements is routine inspections which include sampling the water for quality testing, chemical monitoring and following a robust chemical treatment program. Another requirement is frequent cleaning which also includes cleaning the tiles, pipes and filters.
Sources of Contamination in Neighborhood Pools
Because neighborhood pools cater to almost anyone, the incidences of contamination are greatly increased. If pools are located outside and are not covered, chances of contamination are increased even further. People and animals are a primary concern, especially if they are sick. Bodily fluids such as sweat, urine and fecal matter can infect the water and cause other pool users to be infected.
In uncovered pools, debris such as dirt and leaves can be problematic especially if the pool is not cleaned regularly. Also bird droppings, water run off and contaminated rain water can enter the pool. These contaminants may result in recreational water illnesses which can cause diarrhea, respiratory infections and rashes on the skin.
Recreational water illnesses are caused by swallowing or coming into contact with contaminated water. Although most swimming pools contain chlorine and other chemicals, they are not always strong enough to to kill the germs that cause recreational water illnesses. Some examples of these illnesses are diarrhea, ear infections and skin rashes.
How to Prevent Diseases
The prevention of recreational water illnesses in swimming pools requires an effective water quality program. Such a program can be implemented through the creation of and adherence to standards and regulations. Pool authorities should also have a routine monitoring schedule which includes disinfection and overall maintenance. Additionally, they should create strict pool rules for users which should be enforced.
Pool users should accept some responsibility for keeping the neighborhood pool safe. Following the rules and regulations can help to prevent diseases and maintain pool water quality. Rinsing off before entering and after exiting the pool is one example. Another tip is that persons with open cuts or sores should not be allowed in the pool. Discharging bodily waste should also be strictly prohibited and discouraged.
Because some diseases are spread in water, additional caution should be taken. Pool users who are feeling ill and suffering from diarrhea, colds and other viral infections should not use the facility. Children should be taken to the washroom frequently and babies should be outfitted in waterproof diapers. As a general rule, pool water should not enter the mouth or swallowed.
Neighborhood Pool Maintenance
Keeping the neighborhood pool clean and safe for use includes routine preventative maintenance. Pool equipment should undergo regular maintenance especially if the pool is used frequently. To ensure neighborhood pool safety, pool operators should ensure that pool filtration and circulation systems are functioning correctly.
Pumps, filters, heating elements, inlets and skimmers are the key components of these systems and should be cleaned at least weekly or more frequently. Skimmers remove water and debris from the pool via suction generated by the pumps. The inlets return the cleaned water to the main pool. Filters work to clean the pool and trap and remove particles from the water. The heating elements regulate the temperature of the pool.
Water in pools requires a complex mix of chemicals which control the pH level, total alkalinity and calcium hardness. Pools should have also systems which control and monitor these chemical and disinfectant levels. Chlorine is used to disinfect pool water and remove dirt and debris. The pH level states how acidic or alkaline the water is. A buildup of calcium can reduce the effectiveness of pool chemicals and destroy the surface of the pool.