Rancid, unsanitary, stagnant and filthy.
That’s how the Indialantic Town Council describes what can become of water in a swimming pool that’s not properly maintained – and according to Town Manager Michael Casey, it’s become a health and safety issue, particularly with unoccupied properties and those under construction.
“We have had a problem with a few empty homes where they have pools and they are not maintained such as not having any power to the house and the pool creates a breeding grounds for all types of bugs to include mosquitoes, which is a situation of health and safety,” Casey said.
“We currently had no way to enforce an empty house with no power and an unsanitary pool from becoming a public nuisance.” But that has changed.
On Aug. 21, the council unanimously passed a new ordinance authorizing code enforcement to declare such pools a public nuisance by posting a Notice of Public Nuisance on the property that, if not remedied within a certain time frame, will allow the town to correct the violation itself and place a lien of the property for the costs involved in remedying the situation.
Mayor Dave Berkman introduced the proposed ordinance earlier this month because he said the town didn’t have a clear and concise ordinance to deal with property owners who don’t take care of their property.
“We have several pools in town that have been unmaintained for years and are a health hazard,” Berkman said. “This now will change and the town will have the teeth to make the property owner eliminate the mosquito- and frog-infested pools or face stiff fines.”
According to Casey, the town previously relied on an outdated ordinance based on state law at the time. The new ordinance covers both unoccupied and occupied houses, along with pools under construction.
A major health concern where there is stagnant water are the mosquitos drawn to it to lay their larvae, which can produce thousands of new mosquitos within weeks – and millions within months. Even if a pool is empty, just an inch of rainwater can create a hazard. According to the Florida Department of Health, mosquitos in Florida have been found to carry a variety of diseases including West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis.
Kip Seagrave is happy with the new rules. He co-owns Kipper’s Pool Care with his wife, Cynthia Zimmerman, and focuses mainly on beachside clients – with several in the town of Indialantic.
His clientele includes several local real-estate agents who represent properties with swimming pools that need upkeep – and sometimes a quick rescue from green water.
“In the summer you really need to treat your swimming pool on a weekly basis; once every two weeks is not enough” Seagrave said. “It’s not as easy as some people think to get the chemistry right. You really need to know what you’re doing – or hire someone who does.”