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City of Abilene pool water clean, 'tested often'

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: May 29 2013 03:01:01 PM CDT
Updated On: May 29 2013 07:20:57 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

When school soon ends and as temps continue to rise, more kids will be at Abilene's pools and the Nelson Splash Pad.

But how clean is the water?

Government health experts say you shouldn't be afraid of swimming in public pools, but there are things of which you need to be made aware.

Abilene resident Allison O'Guinn remains proactive about keeping her kids clean in Abilene's pools.

"We have the restrooms and we tell them [kids] not to 'go' in their swimsuits and we change diapers for the little ones quite often," O'Guinn said.

Not all families do this, though.

The city of Abilene has safeguards in place to make sure pool water stays clean.

The water's chemistry gets tested often.

"By code, you're supposed to test every two hours," said Anita Vigil of the city's Parks and Recreation department. "I like to test every hour because you know, the environment changes the water, the number of people in the pool changes the water," she said.

Certified pool operators are also on staff at every city pool.

"Their job is to make sure that it [the water] is getting tested," Vigil said. "They can do a lot more tests than your average lifeguard."

City pools are also regulated by Health and Environmental Services. The agency comes out and performs random inspections.

"If they come out and find that the water chemistry is too low and things can grow, then they will shut you down and you will have to get those levels up," Vigil said.

You might not want to know it, but going to the bathroom in public pools does happen.

"Yes," Sarah Clower, 7, said. "Not at the Splash Pad, but only in the pools." 

The No. 1 rule from the Centers for Disease Control is to never swallow the water from a swimming pool.

Other tips on how you can keep city pools clean and safe for others include:

1. If your kids are sick, don't take them to the pool. The viruses that cause the common cold and "stomach flu" can survive in pool water.

2. Always shower off before entering pool water.

3. Infants and toddlers should always wear diapers specifically made for swimming.