Hank Investigates: DCR Pools - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Hank Investigates: DCR Pools

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The black stripe warning kids of deep water--it's brand new.

The safety latch on this gate? Now it works!

This emergency first aid room: it's a new addition.

These changes and hundreds of other fixes to dangerous state run swimming pools didn't happen until state officials realized we were about to show you what we uncovered: Years of disturbing health and safety violations in every single one of the 38 pools they inspected. When we started asking questions, the Department of Recreation and Conservation suddenly found more than a million bucks to fix the pool problems.

Hank: “These pools were not safe, and they were not sanitary, and you knew that!”

Ed Lambert, DCR Commissioner: “Those pools had a number of violations that needed to be corrected.”

A ‘number’? A huge number! This is the Olsen Pool in Hyde Park last summer, the turquoise water teeming with kids. What parents didn't know it was also teeming with health and safety dangers. Improper lifesaving equipment. Loose ladders. Even more scary: Pools staff not adequately trained. Cracked decks. Inadequate first aid supplies. Exposed wiring.

Jackie Olivera, Mother: “It kind of scares me.”

Think that's scary? At the Reilly Pool in Mattapan, inspectors for the State Department of Public Health, the DPH, found: Not enough chlorine. Loose ladders. No safety equipment.

Holland Memorial in Malden: Not enough ladders. Improper safety equipment. No hot water in either shower room!

Jessica Cabral, Mother: “That's pretty gross.”

Talk about gross. Our review of five years of state inspections reveals: 24 percent of pools had first aid violations! 58 percent had safety violations! 68 per cent had sanitary violations! But the Department of Conservation and Recreation did not fix the continuing problems--and just kept the pools open.

Hank: “People were swimming in pools that failed these inspections. Time after time! Year after year! Does that concern you?”

Ed Lambert, DCR Commissioner: “I'm very concerned!”

You should also be concerned because, and this is a little skeevy, getting into a swimming pool is like taking a bath with a bunch of strangers. Think of the germs, the microorganisms, the bacteria. That chlorine that's added to the water every day is supposed to kill all that but we found last summer, more than half the states pools failed the chlorine inspection!

Hank: “What could be the result of that?”

Dr. Jeffrey K Griffiths, MD, Tufts University: “Somebody's gonna get sick and it might be me and it might be my child.”

State officials tell us many of the problems we revealed have now been fixed--and they're working on taking care of all the others, though they admit some will have to wait until the swimming season is over. What's more, they say, they've now set up a tough new inspection system. In the newsroom, I'm Hank Phillippi Ryan.

(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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