Public swimming pool are a special type of pool that is open for use by the general public. These types of pools operate under strict guidelines which are designed to keep the public safe from harm. Proper sanitization and filtration are significant. The right quantities of sanitizer help prevent recreational water illness. The difference between your neighbor’s pool and a public pool is that the local health department checks these pools for compliance for sanitizer, proper pH, and safety issues from top to bottom.
The most significant role of the inspections are to ensure the VGBA (Virginia Graeme Baker Act) is followed. The VGBA was named after a Minnesota girl who was eviscerated by a pool drain that caused her body to be stuck to a drain inside a hot tub. When you swim in a public pool, the public should have the assurance that the pool is inspected for VGBA violations or damage to the pool that could result in an entrapment injury. As a member of the public, you also have the right to complain to the pool operator or local health inspector if you see a problem with a public pool.
Cryptosporidium is a waterborne illness caused by a microscopic parasite that can result in serious health related problems. It is spread through the fecal-oral route. Swimmers on average swallow one ounce of pool water every thirty minutes of swimming.
Public pools must keep residual sanitizer levels up to help prevent this illness. It takes a very long exposure to chlorine to kill off this parasite, so much so that the use of secondary sanitizers are used. Ultraviolet light or ozone are two great options to prevent a Cryptosporidium outbreak. The next time you see a pool sign that says, “If you have had diarrhea in the past 14 days stay out.” Now you know why.