Review of Safety Measures at Philadelphia’s Public Pools

Audit Date: September 2, 2014
Audit Categories
  • Investigation
Controller: Alan Butkovitz
Audit Tags
  • Children and Families,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Inventory,
  • Parks and Recreation

Executive Summary

For Immediate Release
Sept. 2, 2014

Contact: Brian Dries

Butkovitz Releases Safety Inspection Report
for Philadelphia’s Public Pools

City Controller finds majority of facilities maintained in safe, secure manner

Review of Safety Measures at Philadelphia’s Public Pools

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the Review of Safety Measures at Philadelphia’s Public Pools that found almost 70 percent of the facilities were maintained in a safe, secure manner.

The Controller’s Office conducted the review of the 81 city-operated pools and spraygrounds to ascertain whether any hazardous conditions existed. Of the total water recreational sites, 27 did contain conditions that ranged from very minor to potentially unsafe.

“Many of the issues we observed can easily be corrected if appropriate actions are taken by Parks and Recreation,” said Butkovitz.

Some of the conditions included the following:
• Uneven or cracked concrete on pool decking at 15 pools, which could create possible tripping hazards,
• Blocked drains that caused standing water at five locations, which could create slipping hazards,
• At two swimming pools, chlorine chemicals were in an area where patrons could access, and
• A broken pool ladder marked with yellow caution tape blocking access to a section of the pool was observed at the Morris Estate pool.

While the Controller’s Office was conducting the onsite inspections, there was an incident at the O’Connor Pool located at 26th and South Streets where three children swimming in the pool were shocked by an alleged electrical current at the facility. Since the investigators had not examined the facility prior to the incident, additional information concerning the incident was requested by investigators from Parks and Recreation.

According to Controller Butkovitz, Parks and Recreation responded by issuing a Pool Plan of Action and Repair Protocol. These measures included insulating electrical equipment around pool motors and removing unnecessary lighting circuits in pools areas.

“The Department indicated that actions would be taken to prevent any potential electrical issues,” said Butkovitz. “More importantly, it stated that in the case that an emergency repair is needed during operating hours, the pool will be closed until the work is completed.”

“It is also anticipated that the conditions listed in our report will be corrected over the year to ensure a safe swimming season in 2015,” said Butkovitz.