Pool Health and Safety Awards

Gold and Silver Buoy Award winners
Gold and Silver Buoy Award winners included (front row, left to right) Whitney Taylor and Rhonda Schlosser, Crossroads Sports and Fitness; Shannon Youngblood, East Helena City Pool; and Jason Fowler, Helena Family YMCA; and (back row, left to right) Bryan Johnson, Capital City Health Club; Rod Feistner, Last Chance Splash Waterpark; and Tom Hayes, Green Meadow Country Club

Staff of the Licensed Establishment Program of Lewis and Clark Public Health presented the 5th annual “Gold and Silver Buoy Awards” on March 22, 2018, to 9 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 2017.

Award Winners

Gold Buoy Awards were presented to:

  • City of East Helena (Kennedy Park swimming pool)

  • City of Helena (Last Chance Splash Waterpark and Pool)

Silver Buoy Awards were presented to:

  • C Bar N Mission, Augusta (camp pool)

  • Capital City Health Club (lap pool and spa)

  • Crossroads Sports and Fitness (pool)

  • Green Meadow Country Club (pool)

  • Hampton Inn (pool)

  • Helena Family YMCA (pool)

  • Holiday Inn Express (pool and spa)

“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 health department’s 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 complete records and monitoring and no more than two noncritical violations during an inspection, and that’s a standard that’s difficult to meet,” Riek said.  “Silver Buoy winners must have almost complete records of monitoring and minimal violations. The expectation is that pools are maintained every day to prevent waterborne illness.”