Dubuque backyard pool ordinances prevent drowning's - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pool ordinances prevent drownings

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - The heat is here, and that means portable swimming pools are popping up in many backyards. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 300 kids under five, drown in residential swimming pools each year.

That is why cities across Iowa have pool regulations. Most don't require anything if your pool is below 18 inches. But if you have a pool deeper than 18 inches, the city of Dubuque requires it to be surrounded by a fence to limit access by unattended children. The fence has to be at least five feet tall. The city also requires a permit to own a pool 24 inches or deeper.

When Mike Rettenmeier's family doesn't answer the door, a sign reading: "at the pool" tells you exactly where to find them.

"That kind of cool feeling is just wonderful," said Rettenmeier.

His backyard pool has been a part of family life for 15 years.

"Put the pool up then according to code, we needed to have at least 48 inch barriers around it. So we put in the cedar deck and cedar fence," said Rettenmeier.

He also has a locking gate and stairs leading down to the pool. All an effort to prevent unsafe access to the pool. Dubuque's ordinance defines a "swimming pool" as any constructed or prefabricated pool over 18 inches in depth used for swimming, bathing, or wading.

"These rules are requires to prevent unfortunate incidents where somebody might drown if they were unsupervised and got access to the pool," said Building Service Manager, Rick Russell.

Nathan Tyler just bought a pool and see nothing wrong with the permit.

"The reason for the permit is very justified to keep kids safe," said Tyler.

As for Rettenmeier's pool, there are rules beyond what the ordinance requires, starting with adult supervision.

"Young kids have to wear water wings, we've got plenty of floatation devices around and sunscreen," said Rettenmeier.

And on hot, humid summer days, you can expect to see a sign in Rettenmeier's front yard and his pool safely waiting in the back yard.

"Just relaxing around the pool - when you can jump in and have that kinda of fresh cool feeling," said Rettenmeier.

Fines for not having a permit can be as high as $750. The cost of a permit is as little as $10. Waterloo, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids have ordinances similar to Dubuque, but with slight differences in height requirements. Before you buy a pool, you should check your city's zoning codes.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
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