LA County Pools Violate Health Codes

Only 11 inspectors are responsible for 4,000 pools at parks, health clubs and hotels

By Christina Cocca, Joel Grover and Chris Henao
|  Saturday, Jun 29, 2013  |  Updated 2:32 AM PDT
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While many SoCal residents flock to their local pool to escape the sweltering triple-digit heat, an NBC4 I-Team investigation found thousands of pools in Los Angeles County were guilty of health code violations that put pool-goers at risk of disease. Joel Grover and the NBC4 I-Team report for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Friday, June 28, 2013.

While many SoCal residents flock to their local pool to escape the sweltering triple-digit heat, an NBC4 I-Team investigation found thousands of pools in Los Angeles County were guilty of health code violations that put pool-goers at risk of disease. Joel Grover and the NBC4 I-Team report for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Friday, June 28, 2013.

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SoCal residents trying to beat the heat are flocking to their local public swimming pool, but an NBC4 I-Team investigation found thousands of pools in Los Angeles County were guilty of health code violations that put pool-goers at risk.

One such violator is the Mar Vista Pool, which opened two weeks ago without officials doing any kind of inspection. The Mar Vista Pool was also cited just last year for not containing enough bacteria-killing chlorine, and for an abundance of algae, dirt and debris.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is responsible for 16,000 pools at apartments, condominiums, parks, hotels and motels, water parks and health clubs.

A mere 11 inspectors are responsible for 4,000 pools outside of apartments and condominiums, said Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health for the LA County Department of Public Health.

The additional 12,000 pools at the multi-unit residences are checked by housing inspectors who do the overall building health inspections, Bellomo said.

The Mar Vista Pool is not exclusive to opening without an inspection, as multiple municipal pools open to the public before inspectors pay them a visit, Bellomo said.

The I-Team’s analysis found that 73 municipal pools had serious health violations involving chlorine, algae, debris, cloudy water, and dirty bathrooms and showers.

The municipal pools should be inspected twice a year, but many pools only get one inspection, he said.

He added that most people who get sick from bacteria in the pool water never report it to the county, resulting in a lack of accurate numbers of illnesses from using public pools.

Swimmers can reduce their risk of getting sick by taking a shower before and after swimming, and making sure to never swallow any pool water, health officials said.

For details on any of the pools inspected by LA County Department of Public Health, check here: Pool Inspection Database

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