How Clean are Area Hotel Pools?

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — There are more than two dozen pools and spas on the inspection list in Lane County. For hotels offering the amenity, water recreation comes with a costly and complicated upkeep.

“The worse pool and spa we’ve seen are probably the ones that don’t get cleaned, don’t get monitored regularly, people think they can turn on a pump and do no maintenance,” said Zach Manning, Lane County Department of Environmental Health.

Oregon state code requires a bi-annual inspection of hotels, a pool and spa is checked every six months. Manning is tasked with a percentage of the dozens of pools and spas around Lane County.

“We do have the ability to close and go through a process of re-opening again. We haven’t had any push back,” Manning said.

Manning says spa and pool maintenance is tough and financially taxing for hotel managers.

“It is a constant battle. These guys are in here multiple times a day checking the equipment and the chemical levels in the pool, so they really have to be on their game,” said J.B. Carney, Holiday Inn General Manager.

KEZI 9 News followed Manning as he inspected the Holiday Inn pool and spa.

“One of the big priorities is self-closing and latching, so we are going to check it and make sure it’s wonderful,” Manning said.

Manning says the latch keeps kids from sneaking in and swimming without an adult supervising them. He also checks for life buoys and unclogged skimmers.

“We are just going to see if there is any debris inside. I am not seeing anything. These are nice and locked down so people don’t steal them,” Manning said.

While not required by the state, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires the chairs at pools to help lift people with disabilities.

“Right when they decided to change it, management was able to come up with the type they wanted us to install and we installed them,” Carney said.

A big element of the pool and spa inspections is the chemicals must be in balance for safety and to make sure they are doing their job.

“There are so many factors that go into controlling the chemical aspect of pools that are out of our control,” Manning said.

Manning checks for pH balance along with combined chlorine. If there’s too much combined chlorine that’s what causes eyes to burn. He says if you can’t see the bottom of the pool, don’t go in it.

But there was a slight problem with the spa at the Holiday Inn.

“So the combined chlorine is a little above the limit, so that is something we would site; but I will say this is not something that is out of the ordinary, again it comes back to small body of water lot of use,” Manning said.

Spas can’t be above 104 degrees and they must run on 15 minute timers

Then it’s off to the records room. Operators are required to keep three years of maintenance records.

“The biggest concern I have is when I don’t see any fluctuation in the water quality,” Manning said.

That’s because when a single person jumps in, the chemistry changes; and therein lies the need, he says, for pools and spas to remind people to shower before swimming.

“The things look pretty good here the only thing I would say is keep an eye on your combined chlorine for your spa; but other than that, your pool and spa looks really good,” Manning said.

A clear report and likely a refreshing look at what it takes to make sure the next dip at area hotels isn’t a dirty one.

Manning says so far Lane County hasn’t had to deal with any disease or outbreak stemming from the pools and spas, but he says there are cases where maintenance employees at hotels have too much on their plates and can’t keep up with what you just saw is required.

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