Winfield pool remains open despite violations

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


WINFIELD ? Last month an inspection of a pool in Winfield yielded poor results, leaving them with 30 days to respond to over 20 violations found by Henry County Environmental Health.

Bruce Hudson, executive director at Regional Utility Service Systems, said the city is working on correcting the violations, but they also know they have a new pool tentatively opening Labor Day 2019.

?Not too often do I site a public health risk, and in that situation up there, there was a public health risk,? Hudson said during a Board of Health meeting on Tuesday, July 24.

While the pool remains open because none of the violations fell under the criteria of pool closure, Hudson said they have to respond to every violation before being cleared. Already, they have marked a rise along the pool with a yellow strip, so it is no longer a trip hazard and no longer allow people to run around the pool.

Hudson said he sees problems like this a lot in smaller towns where there is one certified pool operator who also acts as the maintenance person for the city and cleans city streets. With the pool only open four months out of the year, that responsibility often gets pushed to the wayside.

?They run the risk of a lot of people getting hurt,? Hudson said.

A hotel pool in Mt. Pleasant recently closed remains so. The pool at Comfort Inn and Suites was first inspected by Des Moines County environmental specialist Jim Holley on March 12, when chlorine levels were found to be above acceptable levels. Hudson followed up the inspection 15 days later and found no changes had been made.

The pool has since been closed, and they were given a cease-and-desist order from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Hudson said there have been no changes since. ?Maybe someday they?ll open it back up,? Hudson said. ?I drive by ? to ensure the pool closure sign still is up. Hopefully they?ll continue to follow that order.?

For private pool owners, Hudson encouraged them to test the chlorine levels daily and not to set saunas above 104 degrees, which allows more bacteria to grow.

Hudson reminded that the best way to guard against bacteria is to have consistent chlorine levels.

?Crypto is pretty nasty and hard to kill,? Hudson said, citing a common germ found in swimming pools that causes diarrhea.

?Food for thought,? Hudson continued. ?On vacation, go to the pool, walk over and hit the button on the spa. If it foams up, walk away.? Hudson said this is a telltale sign the spa is being improperly treated. ?If they?re not taking care of the spa, they?re not taking care of the pool.?

Private pools are not subject to inspection by Environmental Health.