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Health Department frames norms for swimming pools

R. Sairam
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It covers pools in private and public establishments

Swim safely:The Department of Public Health has made it mandatory for swimming pools to employ trained swimmers at all times and provide adequate quality life jackets.- FILE PHOTO: K .ANANTHAN.
Swim safely:The Department of Public Health has made it mandatory for swimming pools to employ trained swimmers at all times and provide adequate quality life jackets.- FILE PHOTO: K .ANANTHAN.

The Department of Public Health has come out with a set of norms under Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939, for the operation of swimming pools.

Besides covering both existing and new ones, these conditions are applicable for all pools located in Government institutions, private hotels and resorts, apart from educational establishments.

The first permission under these new norms was issued in the city on January 5 to a private swimming pool at Periyanaickenpalayam, Deputy Director of Health Services R. Damodharan told The Hindu .

Aside from mandating chlorination level of exactly 0.5 ppm (particles per million), as anything above or less would cause health problems, the Department had made it compulsory for the water to be tested for bacteriological contamination at frequent intervals.

It had also directed all pools to employ trained swimmers at all times, rather than call them during an emergency, and also provide quality life jackets rather than use of dubious substitutes such as tyre tubes.

It had been made imperative, he said, that infected persons should not be allowed to enter the pool. Further, head caps have also been made a ‘must-wear’ to prevent conditions like dandruff from spreading. All pool operators must employ rapid filters that function while the pool is in use. Showers were required for all those entering the pool, whose depth must not exceed 5.5 ft. Permission must also be obtained from the local body concerned and Fire and Rescue Services Department. ‘Anti-slip’ tiles must be laid around the pool.

Elaborating on the reasons for these directives, Dr. Damodharan said that public awareness on safe practices while entering swimming pools was low. Even many pool operators remained unaware of the safety procedures to be adhered to.

While Health Inspectors would monitor the compliance of pool owners, Block Health Supervisors were empowered under the Public Health Act’s Section 41 read along with Section 44 to take penal action against those found violating these norms.

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