CDC's new pool guidelines could change your next pool visit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Your visit to the community pool next summer could be a bit different than it is now.

The Centers for Disease Control released its first national Model Aquatic Health Code this Labor Day weekend, one of the busiest times of the summer pool season.

The CDC issued the new recommended guidelines that local health departments will adopt and public pool operators can follow to help keep swimmers healthy and safe.

The code provides tips on safe operation of public aquatic facilities, including design and construction, water filtration, ventilation and air quality and staff training.

The new rules come after the CDC found the number of pool-related health outbreaks increased significantly over the years.

"I think people come in and think the pool is clean and it doesn't matter how I come in,” Renee Reis, Overland Park's Aquatics Supervisor, said.

After looking at 120,000 pool inspections, the CDC found one in eight pools had to shut down immediately because health issues.
    
Both Kansas City's and Overland Park's pool rules exceed the CDC's new minimum requirements.

Both cities’ aquatics supervisors said the guidelines come as more and more people also make less sanitary decisions than they did in the past.

That may mean cities that adopt the new recommended rules will enforce standards they did not used to: showering before using the pool, wearing swim wear instead regular clothes, changing diapers in the bathroom or checking chlorine levels at least twice a day.

"Here at the city, we do that once an hour,” Reis said.

Kansas City pool maintenance said it checks chlorine levels every two hours. Both cities have equipped pools with automated chemical controllers that also check chlorine levels multiple times an hour.

Still, Reis said chlorine can only help so much; people also need to think about sanitary choices when they arrive at the pool.

"Realize if changing a child's diaper on the side of the pool we come by and rinse that off, and it goes into the pool. Just being aware of that."

Reis said when people think of others more people will be safe.
"We have chemicals in the pool, but it takes all people to make everything work,” Reis said.

The CDC spent 10 years drawing up the minimum safety guidelines.

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