A St. Louis County pool inspector tests the water at the Frontenac Hilton. (Photo: Michael Calhoun/KMOX)
FRONTENAC (KMOX) – It’s pool season! You may have taken a dip over the weekend, but it’s not until today that St. Louis County’s pool inspections begin.
They can’t inspect a facility until its open to the public, health department program manager Carrie Dickhans says, and the county’s inspectors don’t work weekends. That makes today the first full day for dropping in.
She says it was — and is — safe to go in the water.
“They are allowed to go ahead and operate before we can go out and do the inspection, based on the fact that they had no major issues last year,” she says. “If we have some [pools] that had problems, then they would remain closed.”
All approximately 800 swimming pools in the county are tested on a weekly basis, she adds.
The health department took KMOX on a mock inspection of a hotel pool in Frontenac, testing water for pH and chlorine and also checking the drain, the phones, warning signs, and other items on the checklist.
Inspectors can rattle the ladders and check for loose drain covers, but there’s one circumstance that’s almost always unforseen — and it involves a submerged item that looks like a candy bar but definitely isn’t something you’d want to eat.
“What has to happen after there’s a fecal accident is there’s superclorination,” Dickhans describes, “and then there is a water test that happens so that we can find out whether or not the bacteria is still present in the pool.”
Don’t complain if the pool is closed for several hours or even the rest of the day. That’s how long the chemicals take to eradicate the fecal bacteria.