I do Risk Management for five pools in Washington state. Our Aquatics Directors run programming and are industry professionals, but our facilities engineers do all pool maintenance.


We just had our third glass incident in the pool in two years. Our facilities engineers are hesitant to drain the pool every time we have an incident due to cost, but everything I'm finding in researching this issue seems to point towards that being the industry standard, if not mandated by law.


Can anyone point me towards some additional resources on this topic to get a conversation going between Aquatics and Facilities? CPO/AFO/your state regs (even if they're not WA)/local regs/industry publications/recemmendations/etc.


Thank you!

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I also run a pool in WA and there is nothing in the WAC pertaining to what must be done in the event of broken glass being introduced to the pool, simply a provision that if you provide food service you must prohibit glass containers from being on the pool deck.  Last time I was asked to explain this rule I did some digging for documentation that draining is the ONLY way to remove the glass and never found anything that stated it was the only way simply that it was the most efficient as clear glass is virtually invisible in water.  I did find a County Code from NC that does state that the required action to a glass incident is to drain the pool (attached).


I can testify to the invisibility of broken glass in a submerged pool, we had an incident with a broken light bulb during our maintenance week several years back and because the staff involved had line of sight on the area of the pool the glass hit AND the recirculation pump was off preventing the current from moving the glass AND the fact that we had 3 days until the pool opened again I made decision to line search that area of the pool (approx 12' x 8') with a mask and fins.  This process took 2 hours before I found the single piece of glass that hit the water, which was over 1" x .5" in size.


Hope this helps.




Having had a lot of experience with this, you must drain the pool.  You cannot see glass in water.  You could vacuum for a week and still miss glass in the pool.  I broke my own rule once when I was out of town with my family.  I knew a glass had been dropped into a very small pool.  I watched the guy vacuum this little pool for an hour.  Then I looked back and forth in a pattern and didn't see anything.  My son jumped into the pool and cut his foot on the bottom half of the glass.  I don't always dictate what advice my sales reps give to customers.  In this case our standard answer is drain the pool and change sand.


One more thought.  You don't always have to follow a regulation to do what's right.  It's all about common sense and patron safety

We have to drain our pools in Iowa.  State code dictates that. 
I have worked in urban cities where vandalism and broken glass were and are common. Thorough brushing, followed by thoughtful and weel done vacuuming and then good visual inspection, a three prong approach, always yielded satisfactory results and incidents of cut feet after using this process never happened that I am aware of. I have been around pools for a few years and have never heard of draining a pool due to glass, although I also know that there is no where I have ever swam that allowed glass in a pool area.
I concur with Jim's approach. But would also do one last manual swim check with scuba gloves.

I'm not sure if I can provide you with specific information you seek, but will relay my own experience with this particular hazard.


From my point of view, three accidents in two years, though concerning, is not necessarily alarming. Mind you, I have worked for an agency where we had that many incidents within one day for the first few days of summer operations. No exaggeration. The problem I encountered was compounded by our need to paint seasonal pool tanks prior to filling. My staff would clean, hose, brush and rinse the walls and bottom and let the pool tank dry over night prior to the paint crew's arrival the next morning.


No matter how diligent we were, if glass made its way into the tank, it would embed itself in the paint. No amount of enthusiastic brushing and vacuuming relieves this condition. Often staff would respond to a cut foot by isolating the area and donning mask, fins and snorkel, attend to scraping the bottom with a speckling spatula. Embedded or not, glass usually requires mechanical removal.


As a measure against liability staff would perform maintenance (including vacuuming and inspections of the deck and tank in accordance to training, and the supervisors were directed to log the staff and time when maintenance was performed. The affected area of the pool would be excluded for public use until the maintenance was completed and a visual underwater inspection performed.


When we identified problematic pools, additional staff was assigned to perform additional maintenance prior to opening. Usually, glass on the deck triggered additional maintenance.


The cuts experienced were always more a nuisance than anything else. If you are experiencing cuts requiring medical attention beyond a simple band aid, then you may have a maintenance issues that need to be addressed.

I struggle to understand how a "Risk Management" professional allows glassware in a pool area?

We had a similar situation last year and I couldn't find any official guidelines, but we did decide to drain, based upon a lot of the thoughts below. Too risky if you miss any glass. Even though our maintenance team argued with draining, they said it was a good thing we did because they found glass really far from the broken underwater light.

Great Question!

As an ex Aquatic Director myself, I used to be MYSTIFIED with the stuff patrons would try to get away with.

Rules enforcement is the only thing you can do.

But hey, Don't forget the UV!  Ultraviolet Light systems feature a GLASS bulb, encased in a GLASS sleeve, where water makes DIRECT contact with the pool water.  Strainers are REQUIRED on the outlets of these systems, but even then, How can you be sure that a broken Quartz Sleeve, or Bulb, or even BOTH, hasn't made it into your pool? (making the question of its use in swimming pools LOGICAL in the first Place!)

Im not an opponent of UV, Im just challenging the manufacturers to find a better way to make UV work in a safer manner... I have seen UV units break, and its NEVER a "walk in the park", especially when the bulb breaks!...

Some advice:

1) its not an accident, its an "inconvenient event"

2) its behavior that needs to be corrected, not the person breaking the rule...

3) when writing rules, always start them with "In order to reduce the Inconvenience of ALL patrons, please adhere to the following Guidelines"...

Good Luck!

Luckily we have not had an issue with glass in our pools, although it has happened on deck. We vacuum our pools by hand 3 times a week so any time we are concerned about objects in the pool (such as earlier this season when a fiberglass step shattered) We schedule vacuuming for the following morning. How large are some of your facilities? Heated? How often do you vacuum? Coming from a facility with a limited budget, I can see where it comes from. The lost revenue from us having to drain and refill our pool and then stabilize would be enormous, not to mention the cost of additional chemical and man-hours. If this happened at my facility I would probably also suggest a line search of some kind and extensive vacuuming


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