What Do I Do if Somebody Poops in the Pool?
So, somebody poops in the pool. It happens and there’s nothing we can do now except ask what to do next. All jokes aside, a fecal incident in a pool presents risks to swimmers and needs to be addressed immediately. The faster you act the easier cleanup will be. Here is a brief guide on what to do if somebody pooped in your pool.
Discern Whether It Is Diarrhea or Formed Stool
Diarrhea contains far more dangerous bacteria than formed stool, and it spreads unlike formed stool, where the bacteria is mostly contained within the stool itself. Therefore, your response will differ greatly depending on what type of stool you’re dealing with.
Recreational water illnesses, or RWIs, are contracted when, water contaminated with fecal matter, is swallowed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RWIs are caused by bacteria like E. coli, viruses such as Hepatitis A, and parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Diarrhea presents higher risk to swimmers because the number of germs is higher and because its consistency allows it to spread much more rapidly.
Steps to Take
First, get everyone out of the contaminated pool, or pools if there is a common filtration system. Close down the area until the problem is eliminated. Remove the excrement from the pool using a bucket. A bucket tends to work better than a net or other object because it prevents the stool from breaking apart and causing a bigger mess and allows you to scoop up some of the surrounding water with it.
In the case of a formed stool, and provided that you extract it from the pool while it’s still intact, the remedy from here on out is pretty simple. Just raise the chlorine levels in the pool to above 2 ppm and maintain those levels with a pH of 7.5 and a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for at least 30 minutes. If you normally use bromine, you will still need to add chlorine for this situation. Allow the chlorine to disinfect the water and make sure the filter is running the whole time. After that, the pool may reopen.
If the incident you are dealing with happens to be diarrhea, evacuate the pool immediately and let everyone know it will be closed for the day. Then extract as much of the feces as you possibly can. Raise the chlorine level in the water to over 20 ppm and, again, pH should be 7.5 and temperature should be above 77 degrees. These levels need to be maintained for at least 13 hours according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After this time, backwash the filter or replace the cartridge. Don’t allow swimmers back into the water until chlorine levels return to a normal range of 1-3 ppm.