North Mankato is considering changes to current regulations when it comes to safety measures surrounding in-ground swimming pools after a resident requested the issue be reviewed.

Current code requires pools to be enclosed by a six-foot fence, but Bryan Sowers said he is looking for residents to have the option of an ASTM certified automatic pool cover instead. 

“The fence still has the risk because it’s open. If you have a pool cover it’s open as well and ASTM goes so far as to say, in the cases since 2015 when this technology became available and they changed the code, the majority of all the deaths were a result of not having a pool cover.”

The fence regulations date back to 1975 and are mainly based around in-ground pools, not above-ground pools which have become a more popular option in recent years.

Sowers pointed out that allowing the covers would improve safety, along with keeping a neighborhood feel and more flexibility with home sales.

“So, whether we say we want to come up with a thousand different examples of situations where did the responsible homeowner do this or that, it’s not about that, it’s just about saying the situation is because you can close it, it’s a tight seal and you can’t get in. That’s the difference in safety. That’s why it’s so much better than a fence.”

Eleven States around the U.S. have mandatory regulations of pool covers in place, with eleven other states having the covers as an option.

North Mankato is in the process of drafting code changes that take into consideration different zoning districts, but the new regulations will center on single-family residential properties. The changes will be submitted to the council for consideration prior to publishing a public hearing notice in the coming months.