Jefferson County swimming pool inspection results now available to the public

May 19, 2022

Before you and your family head back to the pool this summer, you can check out water safety results on a new Louisville Metro open data portal. Residents and visitors can now access inspection data for local pools and spas located in city and state parks, condos, apartments, amusement parks, recreation venues and private clubs. 

“This is a proactive approach to prevent illness from recreational waters,” said Connie Mendel, the director of Environmental Health at LMPHW. “Having this data empowers individuals with information to make decisions about their own health and safety. It also helps us identify and track problems and work with pool operators to correct them.”

The addition of the new data is part of a national project to make aquatic inspection results consistent and available across communities so it can be shared, analyzed and used to address illnesses associated with recreational waters. The data is also available for app and web developers, businesses and community organizations to re-use and share to improve public health. 

Outbreaks associated with recreational water use are the result of exposure to chemicals or infectious pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. The most common contaminant in pools is Cryptosporidium, which can cause acute gastrointestinal illness including stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Cryptosporidium has a high tolerance to chlorine, which allows the parasite to survive for long periods of time in chlorinated drinking and swimming water. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 208 outbreaks linked to treated recreational water occurred in the United States during 2015 to 2019. These outbreaks resulted in at least 3,646 cases of illness, 286 hospitalizations and 13 deaths. The deaths were attributed to Legionella, bacteria that can cause a serious pneumonia-type illness. 

“This new tracking system will better help us protect people from severe illness that can come from contaminated recreational water,” Mendel said. “The ultimate goal of the open aquatic data portal is to keep our community and visitors healthy.”  

The data is open, in a shared format with other jurisdictions in the CDC/National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) program, and uses the “SAFE,” (the specification for aquatic facility environments) data standard. The data collected can also be shared electronically through the CDC Tracking Network to help provide a national picture of waterborne illness.

In the United States, regulations for public-treated recreational waters are written and enforced at the local or state level. The project was a partnership with NEHA and funded by the CDC. 
Individuals can look up the latest inspection results for local public pools, spas and water parks at
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Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness (LMPHW) is a nationally accredited, independent, academic health department committed to achieving health equity and improving the health and well-being of all Louisville residents and visitors. 

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