Records show that many pools, spas failed inspection - KCTV5

Records show that many pools, spas failed inspection last year

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Health department inspectors are headed out to make sure Kansas City spas, water parks and pools are safe for swimmers.

Before a pool can even open, it has to pass an initial city health department inspection, then pass follow-up inspections every month. Inspection records from last year show that close to 200 pools, water parks and spas had to temporarily close because they did not meet health and safety standards.

"Inspections are necessary to protect life and to protect health," said Kansas City Health Department Program Manager Rebecca Steiner.

According to the health inspection reports, in June Oceans of Fun had to temporarily close four water attractions. Coco Key Water Resort had to close two attractions in January and again in February.

Reports also show that inspectors closed the pool and spa at the Plaza Hotel seven times last year. The owner says it was because the chlorine level was too high or too low. He said it's a constant battle to keep the correct level.

"You take a sample of the pool water and then, depending on which chemical you're testing for, you put a specific number of drops and then you read the indicators," Steiner said.

Inspectors test chemical levels. They also check to make sure proper life-saving equipment is on hand.

Last year during about 2,500 inspections, 7 percent ended with a temporary closure.

"For sanitation and safety. We want to make sure the water is properly disinfected, all the chemicals are balanced," Steiner said. "We want to make sure safety equipment is in place such as a Shepherd's Hook, a buoy, a lifeline, an emergency phone that is active and dials directly to 911, the pool is secure."

More and more swimmers are getting sick from cryptosporidium or crypto, a parasite that causes stomach illness. Crypto is a growing problem in pools. The number of cases is up 200 percent.

"People that are immune-compromised, say from having cancer treatments or organ transplants, are at a much higher risk for having severe disease and it can actually be life-threatening," said Angela Myers, an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Inspectors can only do so much. Swimmers must protect themselves by frequently washing their hands and practicing good hygiene.

"We want to prevent people from getting sick," Steiner said.

Most of the pools KCTV5 profiled made changes after the bad inspections and are back open. Overall, the number of temporary closures is pretty low.

Click here to see a full list of closures.

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