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Increase of backyard pools in Grand Forks may prompt new regulations

More small, backyard pools are cropping up in Grand Forks, and they've raised safety concerns for young children, a city official said. Bev Collings, head of the building inspections office, told the City Council's Safety Committee on Tuesday tha...

More small, backyard pools are cropping up in Grand Forks, and they've raised safety concerns for young children, a city official said.

Bev Collings, head of the building inspections office, told the City Council's Safety Committee on Tuesday that she's heard from worried neighbors. The city regulates larger pools and requires fencing to keep children out, she said, but the city doesn't really address small pools.

These are the above-ground pools that appear like oversized wading pools. They've gotten more affordable and more residents are buying them, according to Collings, who guesses that there are at least 50 in town though that number is probably increasing rapidly.

She didn't ask committee members to take formal action, only informing them that she'll be coming back to them with new laws.

Council President Hal Gershman suggested requiring pool covers, but not fencing, which can be expensive.

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City law governs pools of all sizes, requiring designs to be approved by the city, but the law assumes full-sized pools and covers such technical details as piping, pumps and chlorinators.

That's why the city inspections office requires permits only for pools of more than 5,000 gallons. New laws would likely also govern pools that are deeper than 2 or 2ยฝ feet and specifically require covers, Collings said.

Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send e-mail to ttran@gfherald.com .

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