News Track: State swimming pool licenses to be online by February

Database to show if a license is active or under closure order

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Background

Linn County became the first county in the state in May 2016 to post swimming pool inspection records online. The database of more than 70 swimming facilities allows users to research the health and safety of a pool before they take a dip.

At that time, Iowa Department of Public Health officials said they hoped to have an online database of all pools and spas across the state by spring 2017.

What’s happened since

The state doesn’t yet have pool and spa licenses online, but will by February 2018, said Angela Leek, chief for the Public Health Department’s radiological health bureau and database project manager.

Public Health is creating a database of more than 40,000 licensees in 16 programs, including pools and spas, lead-prevention specialists, tattoo artists, X-ray technicians, mammographers, radon-mitigation specialists and tanning bed operators.

“Pools and spas is the last folder to go (online),” Leek said.

Public Health employees soon will start entering data from about 2,230 statewide pool and spa licenses into the database, with all information online by Feb. 1, the start of the next license renewal cycle, Leek said.

Most swimming pools, hot tubs, wading pools and waterslides are required to be licensed in Iowa. Excluded are residential pools and hot tubs, pools overseen by medical personnel and pools owned by homeowners’ groups that assume liability.

Licensed pools and hot tubs are to undergo one routine inspection a year. State or county inspectors check the water chemistry, records, maintenance protocols, structure and emergency procedures. Violations that trigger closure include out-of-balance chemicals, presence of coliform bacteria, extremely cloudy water, broken or missing equipment on fully-submerged outlets or hot tub temperatures over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

For some violations — such as coliform — inspectors must verify the problem has been fixed before a pool or hot tub can reopen. In other cases, pool operators are charged with making changes.

The state database will include each pool and spa license, along with a status showing whether it is active or under a closure order, Leek said.

Linn County’s pool inspection database allows viewers to look at all pool and spa inspection reports, which identify closures and other violations. Web users can view pools and spas in an alphabetical table or a map of the county. Leek is not aware of any Iowa counties besides Linn that post all pool and spa inspections online.

Linn County’s nine municipal pools had eight violations combined in their most recent inspections, with none requiring closure.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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Linn County Swimming Pool Inspections

PoolLast inspectedViolationsDescription
Bender Pool5/6/20171No depth marker in deep end
Bever Pool7/19/20172Ladder rungs missing slip-resistant strip, concrete chipping around mushroom water feature
Cherry Hill Aquatic Center6/13/20173Broken grates in gutter drain, loose ladder by drop slide, chipping paint along handraise of large slides
Ellis Pool7/19/20170
Jones Pool7/19/20170
Linn-Mar Aquatic Center4/20/20170
Marion Municipal Pool7/27/20171Training and baby pool have wearing paint
Mount Vernon Swim Pool6/24/20171Several loose ladders
Noelridge Pool7/19/20170

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