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Poop in the pool!

By October 20, 2008 - 12:20pm
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I took my daughter to her weekly swim class this weekend and 5 minutes before the end of the class, everyone suddenly jumped out of the pool. The manager then announced that there had been a "fecal incident" and the class was ending early. I then rushed us both to the showers, while meanwhile eying the big net being used in the pool to pull out "the evidence" (yes -- this was all very Caddyshack!!!!!) By the time I had gotten both of us changed & ready to leave (about 20-30 mins. later), I saw the pool was reopened for the next class. I was surprised at how quickly the pool reopened! Were THOSE kids, now in the pool, safe? Had enough time passed to properly shock the pool (if that is what they did), and deal with this issue in the proper manner?

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I agree with the above comments: it sounded like your swim school reacted well. I wrote about the chlorine-resistant pool parasite that was in the news this summer (caused from fecal matter).


It might not be a bad idea to ask your swim school , next time you are there, about their "fecal incident" policy, and what they do in that 30 minutes in between classes to ensure the water is safe. If you do ask, I hope you come back and share the answer with us!

October 21, 2008 - 1:26pm

If the stool is solid, it doesn't present as much a problem as if the issue was diarrhea. Solid waste can be easily scooped and the water flushed through fairly quickly in a small children's pool. Loose stool, however, would require shutting down completely so that the pool could be properly drained and treated. There have been one too many cases of e-coli bacterial infection to not take pool poop seriously.

More information:

How does a swim diaper protect other swimmers?

A swim diaper is a pair of elasticized pants that are worn in a pool or spa by a child that has not been potty trained or completely potty trained. Unlike disposable diapers they are not designed to absorb urine or fecal material. Instead they are intended to trap feces inside the diaper preventing release of the feces into the water. Some public pools require all non-potty trained children to wear swim diapers while others do not. The CDC has determined that swim diapers may not completely stop the release of fecal material into a pool or spa. The CDC has a publication about swim diapers and swim pants that details its findings and recommendations for use. These can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/swim_diapers.htm

Source: Texas Department of Health Services

Recently, public pools have faced stricter water quality rules. Plus, to reduce risks, some have improved cleanliness by constantly flushing water through the pool as well as by filtration and disinfection. Ask about the pool's maintenance schedule and whether the pool has a "fecal accident response plan."

Source: Swimming Pool Safety, MedicineNet.com

October 20, 2008 - 4:33pm
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