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Kanawha pool inspections posted online

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Just in time for summer, Kanawha County residents can now access the health inspection reports for pools online.

Kanawha-Charleston Health Department officials have posted inspection reports dating back to July 2012 on the department website. Food inspections also are available online.

"It's just more public information," said Anita Ray, environmental director for the Health Department. "As we get into [using] our software, we have the ability to post them online. It provides the consumer with more information."

The Health Department inspects more than 105 water facilities in the county, including indoor and outdoor pools, spas and hot tubs.

Pools are inspected at least twice a year and bacteria samples are taken throughout the swimming season, according to the Health Department website.

Inspectors check to make sure pools have proper safety equipment and enough lifeguards on duty.

"We check the water chemistry to make sure it's safe chemically and bacteriologically," Ray said.

They also inspect water pumps, filters, dressing rooms and shower facilities, Ray said.

Unlike food facility inspections, pools are not given critical and noncritical violations. If violations are serious, a pool is shut down until it is in compliance. Sometimes pools are reopened the same day, sanitarian supervisor Nasandra Wright said.

A pool is closed because of improper chlorine levels, improper pH balance, inadequate number of lifeguards or equipment, bodily fluids in the water or if the pool's water is too cloudy for people to see the main drain in the deepest part of the water, Wright said.

The most common causes of pool closures are incorrect chlorine level, cloudy water and too few lifeguards, Ray said.

Because of a glitch with the software the Health Department uses, the online inspections currently indicate critical and noncritical violations, Ray said. "Since we did have so much data, we decided to post them online anyway and try to correct it at a later date," Ray said.

Wright said the technology glitch will not be a major issue for inspection reports. What the website currently lists as "critical violations" are actually violations that require the pool be shut down until they are corrected, Wright said.

Wright said the department hopes to have the glitch fixed within 30 days.

Inspection reports are posted within four hours of the inspections, Wright said. Some are posted sooner than others, depending on whether the facility has a Wi-Fi connection, she said.

"This will be a great tool for the residents of Kanawha County to check their favorite pools," Wright said.

To access pool inspections, visit www.kchdwv.org and click on the box headlined "Health Inspection Reports," then click on "Pool Inspections." Inspections for water facilities are listed by city.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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