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Pools prepare to open, test water often

Local public pools are preparing to open for the Memorial Day weekend, including painting, cleaning, filling the pools and most importantly — testing the water.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 58 percent of pools have tested positive for E.coli bacteria.

Public pools are required to test the water’s pH and chlorine to make sure the levels are the most effective for killing germs, said Dan Chatfield, director of environmental health at the Clark County Combined Health District.

A state requirement calls for sampling every two hours and local pool officials say they test the water often.

“We test every two hours. If it’s sunny, more than that,” said Wendy Russel of the South Charleston pool.

National Trail Parks and Recreation District’s Splash Zone Family Aquatic Center uses a machine that constantly monitors the pool, as well as manually testing the water every four hours. The levels are monitored by a computerized system that automatically adjusts the water as needed.

Urbana’s local pool tests the water often throughout the day using a chemical testing kit. Along with testing, the water is vacuumed twice a week, according to Cheryl Wade, pool manager.

Among staff members constantly testing the water, the Clark County Combined Health District is required to sample the water at least twice a year.

“Our goal is to get there monthly,” Chatfield said.

When inspecting, the health department brings its own testing kit and checks records of work done. An annual meeting is also held with pool operators to discuss safety procedures.

Aside from testing, swimmers can help prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, swimmers should shower with soap prior to swimming and take children to the restroom every hour. The CDC also suggests that a person not swim for two weeks if diarrhea is a problem.

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