In 2005, a report in the Orlando Sentinel said a 7-year-old boy's body lay unnoticed at the bottom of a hotel pool in Florida for two hours. His body was obscured by murky water.
Cloudiness is more common at older pools where the water circulates slowly through filters, and at smaller pools where a large number of people can contaminate the water more quickly.
All of the six pools visited by The Times last week were located at apartment buildings. Some managers and residents said the pools became dirty quickly during the first summer heat wave the weekend of June 21-22.
At an apartment complex in an unincorporated part of the county south of Whittier, a fog of green algae and a locked gate kept swimmers away from a pool at 8210 Broadway Ave. on June 24. The black stripe on the pool's bottom was blurry. "That's gross," said Mike Perez, a resident. Manager Jaime Ramirez said he locked the pool June 21 after it became cloudy.
On June 25, at an apartment complex at Vanowen Street and Kelvin Avenue in Canoga Park, the pool in the courtyard was locked. Its bottom faded into a creamy soup.
Also on June 25, a county inspector tested a pool, which passed its last inspection two years ago, at the Nordhoff Townhomes in Panorama City.
On this day, the inspector said, tests showed almost no chlorine in the pool, where a lawn of green algae covered the bottom. In addition, he said, there was no chlorine in the adjacent hot tub, the drain cover at the bottom of the spa was cracked, and a metal railing leading to the pool and another leading to the spa were loose.
"This is an automatic closure," inspector Sarkis Kharadjian said.
Manager Sylvester Norwood, 72, said the pool cleaner failed to remove the debris at the bottom of the pool. "He hasn't been here in a week," Norwood said.
Norwood also didn't relish the prospect of extensive renovations.
"It'd be easier if they just fill it in."
Those concerned about problems with pools in Los Angeles County can call inspectors at (626) 430-5360.
Times staff writers Charles Ornstein, Benjamin Reed and Francisco Vara-Orta contributed to this report.