Hotel pool in violation of IDPH code closed indefinitely

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Comfort Inn and Suites in Mt. Pleasant was ordered to immediately close their swimming pool after a second inspection found they were using it despite an earlier cease and desist order.

The hotel at 1200 E. Baker Street was first inspected by Des Moines County environmental specialist Jim Holley on March 12. At that time the chlorine level was found to be at 8.1 parts per million (ppm). Acceptable levels are between 1 to 8 ppm.

RUSS Executive Director Bruce Hudson went to the hotel on a follow-up inspection 15 days later and found nothing had been done to alleviate the problem. He continued to monitor hotel management?s progress and informed them that as soon as they were in compliance with Iowa Department of Public Health codes the pool could reopen.

Hudson called Comfort Inn and Suites anonymously in April to ask if he could use the pool as a customer. They said it was open for use despite the cease and desist they had been served earlier. Hudson went to Comfort Inn and Suites and told them he was the one who called. He found the chlorine levels to be at 19 ppm during this inspection.

On April 28 an unscheduled visit was conducted, and the hotel owner confirmed he was still letting patrons use the pool and spa.

In cooperation with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Hudson hand delivered a cease and desist order to the hotel on April 6. The hotel has since posted closure signs on all pool entrances and the pool remains closed indefinitely.

Hudson said that throughout this process, the hotel had no proof of chlorinator readers and had no tests done for several years. The last report they had was from 2012, which had many violations. There is no certified pool operator.

Swimming pool water is required to be checked within a half-hour of opening time and at intervals not to exceed four hours until swimming pool closing time, according to the report from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The swimming pool cannot be reopened until water quality records reflect testing of the pool and spa in accordance with frequency requirements. The owner also will need to submit renewal documents for the annual pool and spa registration for the hotel.