Hennepin County Officials Revamp Pool Inspections
After a series of tragic pool accidents that resulted in the death of two children, Hennepin County, Minnesota officials are stepping up efforts in inspecting residential and public pools
The Star Tribune reports that 16 country inspectors will be visiting 463 pools this summer to ensure their safety. The pools under their jurisdiction include indoor and outdoor pools found in schools, apartment complexes, condos, health spas, and country clubs. If a pool fails to meet safety standards, the owner must either fix it or fill it in.
The latest inspections come after two drowning incidents in the St. Paul area. On May 25th, two brothers, ages seven and 10, drowned in an abandoned pool filled with dirty water. Firefighters rescued the two boys but the younger brother passed away from his injuries last week.
In another incident, a three-year-old girl drowned to death in an apartment complex pool last week. Remarkably, the pool passed a municipal inspection last month.
Veteran county pool inspector Joe Jurusik has been working for Hennepin County since 1980 and has inspected pools in the county as well as the wider St. Paul area.
“I think we are leaders in the pool inspection area,” Jurusik said. “This ensures the safety of the public.”
Jurusik and his fellow pool inspectors check more than 20 items and components such as drains, water clarity, proper signage, safety equipment, fencing, transition lines, and paint.
One common mistake pool owners make is filling up the pool with too much chlorine. Specifically, inspectors warn that if the water smells like chlorine, it means that the chlorine is interacting with organic matter and actually makes the water dirty.
Once a pool gets approval from the inspectors, it can operate for the rest of the season . However, inspectors usually pay another visit to test for water purity during the late summer.
“We keep coming back and they know we are coming back, so they are maintaining the pools,” Jurusik said.