Follow Up Review of Safety Measures at Philadelphia’s Public Pools

Audit Date: August 15, 2017
Audit Categories
  • Investigation
Controller: Alan Butkovitz
Audit Tags
  • Children and Families,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Inventory,
  • Parks and Recreation


Follow-Up Inspections of Pools and Spray Grounds

Executive Summary

Why the Controller’s Office Conducted the Review

The City Controller’s Office issued a 2014 review of swimming pools and spray grounds maintained by the City of Philadelphia that found the majority, almost 70 percent, of the more than 80 locations were maintained in a safe and secure environment. By performing on-site inspections at every facility during the peak summer swimming season, the Controller’s Office again reviewed the recreational water sites to ascertain whether any hazardous conditions existed.

What the Controller’s Office Found

Of the total 81 pools and spray grounds maintained by the city, the Controller’s Office found that 30 were observed to have a safe, secure environment for both swimmers and visitors. This is 24 less facilities than what was observed three years ago, indicating a significant
deterioration in conditions throughout the various locations. While the remaining 51 pool and spray ground facilities contained conditions that ranged from minor to potentially hazardous, these items could be corrected if appropriate actions are taken.

Some of the noteworthy findings included the following:

  • The pools at Mander and M.L King had electrical cords submerged in water in areas accessible by visitors and staff, creating potential shock hazard.
  • 25 pools contained uneven or broken concrete in the pool deck areas, creating tripping hazards
  • 10 locations contained blocked drains that resulted in standing water and slipping hazards
  • The Morris Estate pool had a broken ladder marked with yellow caution tape, whicc blocked egress from the pool. This was the same condition observed in 2014.

What the Controller’s Office Recommends

With less than half of the city’s water recreational locations observed in a safe, secure manner, the Controller’s Office recommends Parks and Recreation take actions to address the conditions found at identified swimming pools and spray grounds. These recommendations can be found at the conclusion of the report.