is a very real problem," he said, "as is proper and safe construction,
drainage, filtration, circulation and chlorination." The dangers of a pool
are not restricted only to its owner and his guests. Virtually every open pool
is in some respect public property. "When," asks Zimmerman, "does
it become a public nuisance? We have a lot of narrow lots in Chicago, some only
30 feet wide. If Johnny dives into his pool and splashes the folks next door,
he's infringing on their rights. That's why we have written such a strict
manufacturers say that we are against their product. We're not. Pools are like
automobiles: they're all right as long as they have brakes and traffic laws to
want," the pool expert summed up, "is to establish standards not only
for construction but for the operation and maintenance of residential pools
that every municipality can use with modifications for local conditions.
Ordinances are not the complete answer, but at least they are a step toward
telling people what they ought and ought not to do."
Along this line,
the Health Association's joint committee has compiled a pamphlet covering
phases of the construction and operation of what it defines as "any
structure, basin, chamber or tank containing an artificial body of water for
swimming, diving or recreational bathing with a depth of more than two
feet." This is a definition that covers a multitude of sins as well as
virtues, for swimming pools now range in size and cost from the million-dollar
constructions on millionaires' estates to a set of do-it-yourself plans that
sells for $1.05. Somewhere between these extremes is the average pool costing
advertisements for pools," said Zimmerman, "give purchasers a false
sense of security. Many are completely devoid of reference to the need for
filters, disinfectants or testing kits. One ad for a do-it-yourself pool showed
an electric-light cord strung across the pool. What a fine way to electrocute
the occupants! The need for uniform standards is a real and important challenge
to professional groups."
Five years to
Both the need and
the challenge are growing greater as pools become easier and easier to buy.
This year nearly three-quarters of the nation's pool builders sold their
products on the installment plan. Many require no down payment and give
five-year terms. Industry analysts feel credit restrictions will slacken even
further in the future.
used to argue," a National Swimming Pool Institute spokesman said,
"that they couldn't repossess a hole in the ground. Well, we've convinced
them that you can't drive it over the state line, either, so they've loosened
up. I don't know whether we'll hit Mr. Lyon's one million figure by 1970 but
we're growing all right. We really have no way of telling just how
claimed perils of this rapid growth, however, insurance companies—who usually
know their business—have not raised their liability rates appreciably. In most
cases a backyard pool adds only about $15 to a normal home premium for minimum
coverage, a fact which would seem to indicate that the vast majority of pools
are not quite as dangerous as the health men fear.