Splashing into a safe summer: PHDMC, YMCA discuss pool safety, sanitation

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KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – Pool season has arrived and Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County is reminding community members to think about safety before making a splash.

With COVID restrictions lifting, that means the potential for crowded pools. Health officials said while it’s still important to protect yourself from COVID, pool sanitation is also critical to staying healthy this summer. Bryan Lemons, environmental health specialist with PHDMC, said that’s where the Health Department comes in.

“Simply put, the chlorine in the water needs to be able to properly disinfect any of the germs, the sweats, oils — anything that comes off of our bodies — before we get into the pool. We’re also looking at the pH of the water. We want to make sure [there’s] a pH of between 7.2 to 7.6. And we’re also going to check our alkalinity, making sure that the chemicals that are in the water are properly able to, again clean and disinfect,” he said.

While PHDMC regularly checks public pools in the county, Lemons said community members can also keep their local pools safe. He said that means practicing good hygiene to prevent parasites like cryptosporidium from dwelling in the water.

“If someone is sick, experiencing diarrhea and they get in the water, if they’ve not properly cleaned off and rinsed, there is the chance that as they swim and enter the water, the crypto is introduced in there, and crypto at one part per million chlorine can still live in the water for two days, upwards to a week,” Lemons explained.

Beyond preventing transmittable illness, another key part of a safe pool season is preventing accidents.

“Swim with a buddy,” said Kate Quackenbush, senior health and wellness director at the West Carrollton YMCA. If you’re with children, making sure that the children are swimming with an adult. Having barriers, especially in outdoor pools [or] outdoor environments.”

She said taking toys from pools to lessen temptations to jump in and using floatation devices such as Coast Guard approved life jackets could also make for a safer summer. 

Lemons added for purposes of both sanitation and safety, “If at any point someone comes to a pool… and can’t see the drain cover, don’t get in the water.”

PHDMC said there is no evidence of COVID being spread through chlorinated water, but they do recommend swimmers get vaccinated and continue practicing six-foot social distancing even after restrictions are lifted on June 2.

To learn more information about about COVID-19 vaccinations through Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County, click here.

To sign your child up for water safety classes through the YMCA, click here.

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