San Diego

MAP: Thousands of Violations Issued for Unsafe, Unclean Pools

Neighbors say they will be thinking twice before going for a dip

Three out of four pools in San Diego were issued official notices of health and safety violations during the last six months, according to county pool inspection records. More than 600 pools in the region failed inspections and were ordered to close.

Though the most common violation was for failing to have safety signs posted, more than 30 pools or spas were cited for not being “free from vermin and animals.” And at least 50 pools failed a serious violation for not meeting “healthful, safe and sanitary" requirements.

For example, during the past six months, county inspectors issued 13 violations to the pool in the apartment and condo complex Mission Greens, which is off Friars Road. Inspectors ordered the pool to close twice for improper levels of sanitizers like chlorine and bromine.

This is a map of health and safety violations issued to community pools in the San Diego area. The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health completed some 7,000 inspections between January 2018 and June 2018 and issued thousands of violations. Check your local community pool to see if it received any violations.

At Mission Greens Monday, some residents said they weren’t too concerned about the violations, while others said they found the news disturbing.

“My family and I swim in the pool on a weekly basis almost. We’re in there a lot,” said Thomas McConnell. “Hearing news like this is upsetting because obviously it’s a safety concern and nobody wants to get sick.”

Other neighbors at Mission Greens said management was taking steps to correct issues. 

"There was a patch that needed to be done at the bottom of the pool," said James Kahn. "I think they're handling it in the proper way and if it's not correct, they'll work to fix it again." 

NBC 7 reached out to the management of Mission Greens, but have not yet heard back from them.   

The San Diego County’s Department of Environmental Health completed more than 7,000 inspections of pools and spas between January and June of 2018, according to data provided to NBC 7 by the County of San Diego. Like inspections of restaurants, the agency inspects pools to help people stay safe and healthy in public areas.

Area pools were issued violations at least 60 percent of the time during those inspections, according to an NBC 7 review of the county inspection records.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the trend is mirrored nationally.

Researchers with the CDC collected data on pool inspections in five states and published the findings in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The research found that most inspections of public aquatic venues – almost 80 percent – identified at least one violation.

The study also found 1 in 8 inspections resulted in immediate closure because of serious health and safety violations.

“Swimmers and parents of young swimmers can take a few simple but effective steps to help protect themselves and their families from germs and maximize fun at the pool,” said Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH, epidemiologist and chief of the Center for Disease Control’s Healthy Swimming Program.

Hlavsa recommends keeping children out of the pool if they are sick with diarrhea and checking your local pool’s latest inspection score.

A national study conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council found 63 percent of adults have never checked health inspection reports before swimming in a public pool, with another 15 percent checking those reports only sparingly.

The Water Quality & Health Council is offering free pool test kits through its Healthy Pools awareness initiative. Swimmers can use the kit to measure chlorine levels and pH in backyard or public pools.

They can also drop them in luggage to check hotel, motel, and theme park pools while on vacation.

Mission Valley resident, Alexander Lieras said he plans to buy a pool testing kit from Home Depot. 

"I can learn how to do it myself," said Lieras. "That means I can swim in the pool again." 

Contact Us