Health officials work to keep safe chlorine levels in public pools

Posted at 12:48 PM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 15:48:10-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nothing says summer in Las Vegas like splashing around in the pool, but your average swimming pool can be more dangerous than you think.

A chemical that's meant to keep things clean could cause serious health problems.

There are 4,900 pools and spas to enjoy in Southern Nevada. Parents we spoke to had nothing but great things to say about them.

"We don't have a pool at the house, so we have to take the kids out," said Mario Ivarra, who was visiting a public pool with his son. "Everybody is safe, they have people around taking care of the kids."

Each pool is filled with chlorine, which is meant to disinfect. The chemical can be harmful, though.

Last year, 12 children and seven adults were taken to the hospital after they were poisoned by chlorine at a swimming pool in California.

The CDC says too much of the chemical can cause skin rashes, chemical burns, or in some cases fluid in the lungs.

If there's not enough chlorine, bacteria could also make you sick.

"If I get into a pool and I'm sick and then you get into a pool after me, you could get sick with whatever I was sick with," explained Jeremy Harper, the Environmental Health Supervisor of the Aquatic Health Program with the Southern Nevada Health District.

Harper says each facility has a certified operator overseeing the careful balance in chemicals.

During peak season, operators are required to check pools at least three times a week. That requirement slows to one time a week during off-season.

The Health District inspects the pools at least once a year. If there are repeat violations, a facility could be fined or shut down.