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Staying safe

City reminds home pool owners of necessary permits and regulations

—Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Adri Sietstra The Webster City Outdoor Pool was filled with kids and adults of all ages Monday afternoon, including the young man above demonstrating his skills on the diving board. The city is encouraging those who use the outdoor pool or a home-owned pool to stay safe and have fun this summer.

Temperatures are on the rise. Due to the high heat, locals are flocking to the pool. Not only is the Webster City outdoor pool open, but many residents have put up pools in their backyards to help combat the heat. Due to a rise in residential pools, the city is reminding home owners to make sure they are in compliance with city ordinances.

Residents who want to put up a pool in their backyard must adhere to certain rules and must obtain a one-time permit from the city. The permit costs $45. The pool must have a depth greater than two feet. This permit does not include wading pools.

“A lot of people are unfamiliar with the fact that you do need a permit to put a pool up,” said Elise Timm, Webster City building inspector. “There is a $45 permit that you are required to have in order to put the pool up anytime that it’s over two foot deep.”

Timm recommends calling the city ahead of time when obtaining a pool permit.

“If you are to get your building permit for the pool one year, we don’t require you to get it on a yearly basis if you take the pool down and put it back up,” said Timm. “That’s why we keep record of those things.”

In addition to the pool permit, city ordinances maintain that Webster City residents must have a four-foot tall enclosed fence around their above ground pool. This fencing also requires obtaining another $45 permit.

“For safety reasons, the International Building Code requires you to have a four foot enclosed fence around that pool,” Timm said. “The fence does have to be four feet tall and fully enclose the pool for safety.”

These rules and permits are put in place to keep Webster City residents safe, according to Timm.

“The last thing we want to do is end up with any unforeseen accidents happening,” Timm said. “These things happen on a regular basis and are extremely unfortunate. We don’t want to be a community with victims.”

“You don’t want to leave your child unattended for any amount of time. Even if it seems like a very short period of time. It takes a very short period of time for something bad to happen,” said Timm.

The required fence is for the safety of residents and also to cover liability issues with insurance companies.

“Typically if people check with their insurance companies, that’s typically a requirement by insurance companies as well as the city,” said Timm. “So, for liability reasons, the last thing we want is somebody to have an accident and end up in a pool when they’re not supposed to be.”

Not only are unsupervised pools a danger to children, but also neighborhood pets.

“Some dogs absolutely love to play in water. However, sometimes they are tall enough to get in, but maybe not tall enough to get out,” Timm said. “Be aware of your pets and your neighbors’ pets as well.”

These rules adhere to above ground pools only.

“There are some more stringent standards for in-ground and more permanent pools,” Timm said.

Timm explained that individuals filling up their residential pools with water can call the city when they plan on filling it. With one quick call, residents can save on their city sewer fees.

“If somebody is filling a pool and they would like to save money, we can help them by not charging them the sewer fees, because they’re not going to be discharging the water,” said Timm. “So if they come down to the city, we can help them with that aspect as well.”

Timm reminds the public that the outdoor pool is also open for the season.

“The nice thing about having the city pool available is that we do have lifeguards on a regular basis,” said Timm. “That’s one of the things when you have a private pool, we have to make sure that it stays safe. That’s why we have the fences up, because you don’t have somebody out there being a permanent lifeguard.”

No matter where Webster City residents decide to take a dip, Timm hopes that residents stay safe and have fun this summer.

“Especially with summer, kids are out to have a good time and we want to make sure that they’re just having a good time,” Timm said. “The pool is open. Come on down and have fun.”

Those with additional questions about necessary permits and usage can contact Timm at the city offices at (515) 832-9151.

“We want people to understand that there are ways to get these things done and how to get them done,” Timm said. “We’ll make sure that we’ve got all of our aspects covered.”

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