Pool Health and Safety Awards

Some of the winners of Gold and Silver Buoy awards
Pictured here are some of the winners who took part in an award ceremony: Left to right, John Haskins, Holiday Inn Express; Bryan Johnson, Capital City Fitness; Rhonda Schlosser, Crossroads Fitness;Tom Hayes, Green Meadow Country Club; Julia Shannon, Kennedy Park Pool, East Helena; David Smith, Dawn Edgar, and Jason Fowler, Helena Family YMCA; Rod Feistner, Last Chance Splash Waterpark; and Dennis Ferriter and Nicole Nettleton, Capital City Fitness.

Staff of the Licensed Establishment Program of Lewis and Clark Public Health presented the third annual “Gold and Silver Buoy Awards” October 27, 2016, to several facilities for their exceptional efforts to maintain clean, safe, and healthy swimming pools and spa environments.

This year's awards were based on inspections conducted by public sanitarians in 2015 and 2016.

Award Winners

Gold Buoy Awards were presented to:

  • Crossroads Fitness (spas)
  • City of East Helena (Kennedy Park swimming pool)
  • Last Chance Splash Park (splash deck)
  • Leisure Village Mobile Home Park (pool and spa)

Silver Buoy Awards were presented to:

  • Baymont Inn and Suites (spa)
  • Capital City Health Club (spa, lap pool, and recreational pool)
  • Crossroads Fitness (pool)
  • Green Meadow Country Club (pool)
  • Helena Family YMCA (pool)
  • Holiday Inn Express (pool and spa)
  • Holiday Inn Downtown (pool and spa)
  • Last Chance Splash Park (50-meter pool, leisure pool)

“Our purpose in doing inspections is to prevent disease and injury by evaluating water quality, clarity, and facility safety,” said Laurel Riek, supervisor of the Licensed Establishment Program. “Operating a pool or spa is complicated and requires specialized training, as well as time and attention. These awards honor those facilities that maintain safe and comfortable water chemistry even with the challenges of sporadic heavy use, ventilation in indoor areas, and weather in outdoor areas.”

Award Criteria

To qualify for a Buoy Award, operators had to meet these criteria:

  • Few to no violations identified during an inspection
  • Water chemistry that’s comfortable and safe for swimmers
  • Good water clarity
  • Safe water temperatures (spas)
  • Required rescue equipment, lifeguards (if needed), and CPR certification
  • Regular monitoring, corrective action, and well-maintained records that track water chemistry and actions taken to maintain the pool (including closing the pool until it’s safe for swimmers)
  • Staff trained in pool operation
  • Adequate ventilation and indoor air quality

“Gold Buoy winners have to have perfect records and monitoring and no more than two noncritical violations during an inspection, a standard that’s difficult to meet,” Riek said. "Silver Buoy winners can’t have more than four violations and must have almost all of the pieces in place for records and monitoring. The expectation is that pools are maintained every day to prevent waterborne illness.”