Salt Lake County Heath Dept. to close dozens of swimming pools

Photo: Pixabay/stevepb

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 30, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake County Department of Health has announced it will begin closing 163 public swimming that do not meet the state’s interlock safety requirements.

Pools without the interlock devices are more likely to expose users to unintentionally produced chorine gas, which can sicken or even kill people.

Pools not meeting the interlock safety rule, created in 2020, must now come into compliance or close, a SLCoHD statement says.

“Beginning Wednesday, February 1, Salt Lake County Health Department will begin closing public swimming pools in the county that do not meet the State of Utah’s new interlock safety requirements,” it says.

“As of January 30, 486 of the county’s 649 year-round and winter-seasonal pools are compliant, leaving the remaining 163 (~25%) subject to closure. Like all entities in the county permitted by SLCoHD, closed pools will appear on the department’s Closures page (updated nightly) as closures occur.”

In June 2019, the Veterans Memorial Pool in Pleasant Grove experienced an equipment malfunction that led to the problem, sickening dozens of patrons and sending several to the hospital. To help prevent similar incidents, in August 2020 the State of Utah updated its pool rule, R392-302, to require all public pools to interlock their chemical feed systems with their water circulation systems by January 31, 2023.

The SLCoHD has provided all affected pools with multiple written, phone, and in-person reminders about the state’s new requirement and its compliance deadline, the statement says. This includes:

  • An email in October 2021
  • Another email in May 2022
  • A verbal, in-person reminder during every pool’s annual inspection in 2022
  • A letter mailed via USPS in November 2022
  • A phone call in January 2023 to pools not yet compliant

“SLCoHD estimates that most pools can become compliant for a one-time cost of $500 or less; a pool company or a licensed electrician may perform the necessary electrical work. Newly constructed pools should meet requirements automatically, as interlock is now an industrywide safety standard. All pools operated by Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation meet the new interlock rule.”

Throughout February, SLCoHD will focus on enforcement of pools that operate year-round and seasonally in the winter, the Department of Health statement says. In early spring, inspectors will begin enforcement of pools that operate seasonally in the summer — an additional 641 pools.

In Utah, a public pool is any pool open to the public or that serves four or more residential housing units. This includes pools at apartment and condo communities, recreation and fitness centers, hotels and schools. Pools that serve three or fewer housing units, including private backyard pools, are not subject to public health regulations.

See a video from the American Chemistry Council on interlock safety systems below.


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