Pooling resources: Learn the rules before you take the plunge ... or you could get soaked

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:44 AM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Public swimming pools closed down because of the coronavirus pandemic. So with summer in full swing, a lot of people started buying their own pools.

But there are regulations for buying a pool for your home ... many people never thought about.

After pools were forced to close, property code inspectors for the city of Aiken say pools started to pop up in backyards around the community.

“I think they have come down in price and I think they are just more affordable,” said Karl Odenthal, property code inspector for the city of Aiken.

He says the problem is people are unaware that it could be in violation of the city's property code.

"We want to make sure people are aware of what the law requires," he said.

The ordinance says things like private swimming pools, and hot tubs, containing water more than 24 inches in depth shall be completely surrounded by a fence or barrier not less than 48 inches in height.

He says many of the above-ground pools people are buying exceed 24 inches.

“The last thing we want is for some child to be walking along the road and see a pool that they just jump in and have a tragedy occur an injury or a drowning,” Odenthal said.

He says the goal is not to issue out tickets but to raise awareness of safety hazards.

“We are going to work with the residents first. If they can’t put a fence up or put it in a fenced area to at least drain it and we will give the 30 days to find some kind of barrier,” he said.

He says all swimming pools should meet the latest building code requirements for fencing

The maximum bond for this violation could cost over a thousand dollars.

“There is nothing wrong with having your own pool,” he said. “You just need to have it safe.”

It’s also a zoning violation if you have it in the front yard; pools must be in the back yard and fenced with some kind of protective barrier.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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