You might recall that I’m not exactly a fan of public pools. And anyone who has ever seen Caddyshack will remember the infamous pool scene in which a candy bar is thrown in the pool causing mass hysteria because no one thinks it’s a candy bar.
Unfortunately, it’s a scenario that pool-goers at McCarren Pool in Brooklyn, New York have experienced this summer … not once, but twice.
Back in July, solid feces were found in the water among swimmers. Back then, I believe the pool was said to have been disinfected and the pool was re-opened an hour or so later. Then again last week, something disturbing was reported floated in the water, or more specifically a “suspicious brown cloud,” according the NY Daily News.
Workers were reportedly disinfecting the pool “with extra chlorine” and it was set to reopen soon after.
The thought of the fluids floating around in the water honestly gross me out. The idea of a toddler innocently floating, laughing and giggling open mouthed near a suspicious brown cloud makes me gag. And is extra chlorine always a sufficient remedy?
If you’re eating right now, you might want to skip the rest of this post (Although if you’ve made it this far, you’ll probably be okay).
The Centers for Disease Control have specific recommendations for this very situation and the one thing they stress is that “a diarrheal fecal incident is a higher-risk event than a formed-stool incident.” Diarrhea carries more germs and can spread much easier. They follow up with a very detailed plan on disinfecting the pool which outlines various types of scenarios along with disinfection time and an action plan which resembles a chemistry lesson. It’s one that I highly doubt every public pool enforces.
The CDC also points out that if a stool has Cryptosporidium parvum, those germs may live in the pool for days and chlorine will not kill them, although chlorine will kill off many of the germs that exist in contaminated water. Yet, a study found that 1 in every 8 public pools had to be closed immediately for serious code violations (many of which included not enough chlorine).
Even our small 4-foot pool takes a lot of work to properly maintain; it’s a daily and concerned effort. And I always wonder how the staffs of overcrowded city pools keep the pools clean. This pool in question has had lines around the block of people waiting to get it and has been filled to the rim for much of the summer.
How clean is your public pool? Has it ever had a similar incident? If so, were you satisfied with its disinfection procedure?
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