Swimming pools are hubs of social activity in The Villages, but a new government report warns they could be the source of disease outbreaks.
During 2000–2014, public health officials from 46 states and Puerto Rico reported 493 outbreaks associated with treated recreational water, which resulted in at least 27,219 cases and eight deaths, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.
More than half of the outbreaks with a confirmed source were caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, commonly called Crypto, which can survive even in well-maintained pools and can give swimmers gastrointestinal illness and diarrhea. At least six of the eight deaths can be attributed to bacterial Legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, a severe pneumonia, and Pontiac fever, a milder flu-like illness. Two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease have been linked to a hot tub at Water Oak in Lady Lake.
Hotels led the way with nearly a third of the outbreaks originating in their pools and hot tubs.
Chlorine is the primary barrier to the transmission of pathogens in treated recreational water. However, the CDC found that 20 percent of 13,864 routine inspections of public hot tubs/spas conducted in 16 jurisdictions in 2013 identified improper disinfectant concentrations.
Inspections reports on file with the Florida Health Department have noted violations at some pools in The Villages:
• The pool at the Alden Bungalows near Brownwood was shut down April 30 after a health inspector found an improper pH level at the pool as well as insufficient sanitary supplies.
• The pool at Hacienda Hills Country Club was shut down Feb. 23 after an inspector found problems with the chlorine and pH levels.
• The pool at Glenview Country Club was shut down Nov. 20 due to the insufficient quality of the water due to the pH level.
• The FishHawk Recreation Center pool on Nov. 27 received an “Unsatisfactory” rating when an inspection found suction outlet covers were not properly maintained.
• The pools at Laurel Manor and Lake Miona on May 26, 2017, were rated as “Unsatisfactory” after problems were found with life ring ropes and suction outlet covers. That same day, the SeaBreeze Recreation Center pool was also rated “Unsatisfactory” after problems with the suction outlet covers were detected.
• The St. James Neighborhood Pool was rated “Unsatisfactory” on Nov. 27 due to a problem with suction outlet covers.
Local hotel pools also have been found deficient by the health department:
• The pool at the Marriott Town Place Suites at Spanish Springs was shut down March 29 after an inspector found an improper chlorine level.
• The pool was shut down March 8 at the Hampton Inn & Suites on County Road 466 when an inspector found the sanitary supplies had not been stocked, a pH violation and a maintenance log had not been properly updated. The pool had also been shut down Nov. 20 after an inspector found an improper pH level and a problem with the flow meter.
• The Waterfront Inn spa at Lake Sumter Landing was closed after flunking an inspection on June 14. The health inspector found an improper pH level.
And neighboring communities have had deficiencies found at their pools:
• The swimming pool at Sumter Grand on County Road 466A was shut down three times in a year due to multiple violations. The most recent closure came on April 3 due to problems with the pH and chlorine levels. In addition, there was a violation pertaining to signage and a maintenance log for tracking pH and disinfectant residual levels had not been updated. The pool was shut down twice in 2017 after an inspector found improper pH levels.
• The Villages of Parkwood pool was shut down Dec. 20 after an improper pH level was discovered and a problem was found with the pool’s flow meter.
• The Harbor Hills Country Club spa and wading pool were shut down March 21 due to insufficient chlorine and pH levels.
• The America House senior living center pool in Wildwood was shut down June 1, 2017, after a chlorine-level violation was found and a maintenance log had not been properly maintained.
• The swimming pool at The Quarters Apartments in Lady Lake was rated as “Unsatisfactory” on March 28 due to a problem with a handrail.