FORT MYERS, Fla. An off-campus student apartment complex pool near Florida Gulf Coast University has been shut down more than any other in Southwest Florida by the Florida Department of Health, according to state records.
The pool at The Reef apartments on Shephard Street in Estero has been shut down 10 times since the start of 2016, according to inspection data the Florida Department of Health keeps on community and public pools. The data also includes hotels and condominium complexes.
Inspection reports show continued problems with the chlorine and chemical levels at the pool. The Reef is an independently owned complex that markets itself to FGCU students but isn’t formally connected to the school.
The Health Department may choose to close a pool if water quality does not meet standards, but closing is the last resort, said Jaime Cook, an environmental supervisor for the Health Department in Collier County.
Instead, it’s more common that Cook and other inspectors will mark the pool unsatisfactory.
The Greater Naples YMCA pool has had 12 unsatisfactory inspections since the start of 2016, more than any other pool in Lee, Collier or Charlotte counties, according to Health Department data.
Black mold, algae and issues with the drain grate were listed in reports. Algae is a sign that chemical levels may be off, according to Cook, and special covers are required for drains to prevent drowning.
Suction from the drain can cause a swimmer to get stuck on the bottom of the pool, Cook said. Data shows that 832 pools across Southwest Florida received a violation for the drain grate.
“That grate has to be there. It has to be intact. It has to be secure,” Cook said.
The most recent inspections for both The Reef and Greater Naples YMCA pools were satisfactory.
“As part of our continuous maintenance efforts at our two swimming facilities, we work hand-in-hand with the Florida Department of Health to ensure our pools meet or exceed the applicable health and safety requirements,” Greater Naples YMCA CEO Paul Thein said in a statement.
The management company responsible for The Reef did not provide any comment.
The inspection status of any pool regulated by the Department of Health can be found on their website.