CLEARFIELD -- Six "home swim schools" currently operating in Davis County have received a permit to do so from the Davis County Health Department, officials say. One of those is the Beazer Swim School in Kaysville, which has been in compliance with county health for three years -- since being made aware of the requirement. The school also uses its permit as a "selling point" in marketing the business, said Laurel Beazer, the owner and a swim instructor.
But health officials are concerned the actual number of home swim schools operating in the county is much higher than the six that have permits, and one health official estimates as many as 20 home swim schools may be in operation.
The inability of health officials to know which private residences are operating a home swim school has the Davis County Board of Health considering a reduction in the permit fee.
The board of health will host a public hearing this fall to discuss reducing its home swim school permit fee from $200 a season to $50 a season. A date for the hearing has yet to be set. But the board intends to take action, based on the hearing results, at its Nov. 8 meeting.
Health board member Dr. Warren Butler, at the Aug. 9 board meeting, suggested the health department scrap the permit fee altogether because of the state of the economy and because it is more healthy for children to swim in someone's pool rather than a reservoir.
Davis County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said the fee is not being assessed to raise money for the department, but to help cover department costs of inspecting and monitoring the pools and to ensure the chemical treatment of the water meets public health standards.
"My goal is to get in and test the water," Garrett said, explaining his desire for permits.
If health officials are unaware of a home swim school operation, Garrett said, it is difficult to control the spread of water-transmitted diseases, such as the cryptosporidiosis that occurred in 2007.
From June through October 2007 the county had 294 reported cases of cryptosporidiosis, a communicable disease caused by the spread of an intestinal parasite. Those cases resulted in the closure of some public pools and modifications being made in public pool policy across the state.
Beazer said her home swim school will have had 400 students get in and out of her pool by the end of summer, and she is happy to have the Davis Board of Health's permit approval.
"(Health officials) test our pools every other week," Beazer said. "That is a great selling feature. If they are a serious, valid (swim) school, they would want that."
When health officials first approached her, Beazer said, she thought they were kidding when they mentioned her need for a permit. She initially feared not being able to afford the permit and meet all the requirements of the department.
However, Beazer said, doing the things necessary to receive a permit actually contributed to the success of her business.
"We never once tested out-of-whack with our (pool) chemicals," Beazer said.
Besides, she said, having to meet health department standards, "keeps us on top of everything."