Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

December 2014

Report Shows Multiple Violations After Water Facility Inspections

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and Axiall Water Treatment Group released "Looking for Trouble: Seeing Eye-to-Eye With Health Inspectors," a report on commercial pool operations and inspections that highlights multiple violations in pool water safety. The report contains findings and recommendations from a 2014 comprehensive survey of aquatic health officials from across the United States and was released at the annual World Aquatic Health Conference, in Portland, Ore.

"For those in the aquatics industry, much of what is presented will be eye-opening information that is both sobering, and full of opportunity," said Frank Schiffman, Axiall's Water Treatment products senior marketing manager. "In particular, if you're a pool operator, you'll certainly want to know what health inspectors are looking for when they conduct an inspection, commonly cited deficiencies and how to keep your facility in compliance year round."

The survey found that:

  • 75 percent of responding local health departments reported a commercial pool being shut down by their agency within the past two years,
  • Of those that reported a shutdown: 90 percent attributed it to low sanitizing levels/chlorine; 61 percent attributed it to pH being out of balance; and 53 percent attributed it to cloudiness or turbidity of the water.
  • 32 percent of the respondents reported always finding violations in apartment complexes.
  • 54 percent reported violations in two out of three inspections in apartment complexes.
  • 36 percent reported that hotels/motels have the most water quality violations.

"NACCHO's survey of local health department officials who inspect recreational water facilities was developed to identify the most common water quality violations and equip inspectors with resources to educate pool owners and operators," said Jennifer Li, NACCHO's director of environmental health and health and disability. "Being able to study the protocols and experiences of recreational water facility inspectors also allowed NACCHO and Axiall to examine the quality of pool water in diverse jurisdictions throughout the country and to make recommendations about water maintenance and chemicals used to treat recreational water facilities."

The recommendations for local health department inspectors, pool owners and operators are based on the findings and generally accepted best practices issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) and other national industry groups.

"Local health departments work with partners every day to ensure the safety of the water we drink and the water we swim in," Li said. "It is our hope that the recommendations contained in this report will not only help local health department inspectors better understand the needs of recreational water facilities, but also educate the pool owners and operators they inspect about their role in helping to keep communities healthy and safe."

For more information on the report, visit

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