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Public swimming pools cannot only be gross, they can cause illness, disease and quite possibly death. This story about Kansas City swimming pools proves just how dangerous public pools can be.

A KMBC 9 News investigation found black mold, algae and disease during recent inspections. 82 percent of pools in Johnson County were cited for at least one violation, about the same as the national average of 80 percent.

Algae was found at apartment complex pools in Prairie Village and Mission. Some townhomes in Mission had more violations than anywhere else in the county. Inspectors found black mold during a check at the pool at Merriam’s Quality Inn.

Dirty water can be a breeding ground for disease.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of eight pools had to be closed immediately for serious code violations.

The report, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report this week, analyzed data from more than 121,000 routine pool inspections in 13 states in 2008. More than 12 percent of the inspections found serious violations that caused the pools to close immediately.

Violations included an inadequate level of chlorine in the pool and an improper pH level of the water, both of which can lead to transmitting disease-causing germs.

“While they found that about 12 percent of pools didn’t pass inspection, there were still about 88 percent that did meet the criteria, and that’s significant,” Schaffner said.(Source: ABC News)

“It’s a real public health issue,” Vogelsang said. “There are a number of illnesses that can be contracted from improperly maintained pools.”

Those illnesses can include norovirus, Legionnaire’s disease and cryptosporidium. A crypto outbreak led to closures at five pools last year.

Read more from KMBC 9 News