Pool Problems

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

It's not hard to find a backyard pool these days. Travel through area subdivisions and you're likely to spot dozens of those blue inflatable ones. But if you own a pool and don't have a fence, you may be breaking the law.

Ken Sheahan saw so many of his neighbors installing above ground pools, he figured, in this heat, it might be a good idea for his family as well.

"I thought there can't be a problem with them or they wouldn’t all be sitting out there," says Sheahan.

But Winnebago County building inspectors say not so fast. Without a fence around his pool, Sheahan is in violation of county code. Any pool that holds 24 inches of water and is not 48 inches tall needs a fence.

"Some people have the pool at 48 inches originally, but then they set it into the ground maybe 2-4 inches below and now they don't meet height requirements and now they need a fence," says Hughes.

Hughes says, without a barrier, a small child could easily wander into a yard and potentially fall into a pool.

He estimates that 90 percent of above ground pools need a fence. In Sheahan's neighborhood alone, inspectors found about 20 violations. To get Rebecca Parus's pool up to code she'll need a gate on her deck to restrict access to the water.

"I had no idea," says Parus.

And that's the problem, most pool owners don't know. City and county inspectors are trying to get the word out now. And they're asking for the help of local stores who sell the pools.

"We're really worried. They're an accident waiting to happen," says Hughes.

Inspectors say they're not interested in handing out fines. They just want all pools up to code.

If you have questions about your pool or want to know if you're in compliance with county code call the building department at 961-3216.

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