Poop In The Water: CDC Finds Fecal Matter In Public Swimming Pools
A new CDC report suggests that more than half of public swimming pools in the US are contaminated with human waste.
From Medical Daily
Public pools may need a thorough scrubbing. Just in time for the summer swimming season, a new study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that a majority of both indoor and outdoor public swimming pools may be contaminated with fecal matter.
The CDC collected water samples from public pool filters and tested them for microbe DNA, an agency press release says. Overall, 58 percent of the samples tested positive for E. coli, a bacteria found in the human gut and in human feces. It's also a marker for fecal contamination, the CDC says.
Such a high percentage of E. coli-positive samples could indicate that swimmers are having "fecal incidents" in the pool, or aren't showering thoroughly before they get in the water, the CDC says. However, the agency adds, none of the samples tested positive for the E. coli O157:H7 strain, which is known to cause illness.
The CDC also found the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa in 59 percent of the samples, an organism which can cause skin rashes and ear infections. This could indicate either natural environmental contamination, or contamination introduced by swimmers, the CDC says.
The tests also detected Cryptosporidium and Giardia, bacteria that can cause diarrhea. However, these were found in less than two percent of the samples. The tests also don't indicate whether the germs are alive and able to cause infection, or dead. The study did not delve into sanitation at water parks or residential pools, and the CDC cautions that the study's conclusions cannot be extrapolated to all pools in the U.S. It does mean, however, that swimmers in public pools should be careful.
"Swimming is an excellent way to get the physical activity needed to stay healthy," said Michele Hlavsa, CDC Healthy Swimming Program chief, in the agency's statement. "However, pool users should be aware of how to prevent infections while swimming. Remember, chlorine and other disinfectants don't kill germs instantly. That's why it's important for swimmers to protect themselves by not swallowing the water they swim in and to protect others by keeping feces and germs out of the pool by taking a pre-swim shower and not swimming when ill with diarrhea."
In addition to showering before swimming, not swimming when ill, and not swallowing pool water, the CDC recommends that swimmers take bathroom breaks every hour, wash their hands after going to the bathroom or changing a baby's diaper, and change diapers in a bathroom or somewhere away from the pool area. It also recommends that residential pool owners make sure that their pools are properly chlorinated, so as to kill as many germs as possible.
Public pool fecal contamination made the news in New York City in the summer of 2012, when the newly renovated McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn had to be shut down at least twice after children had accidents in the water. The city's park department closed down the pool on those occasions, in order to disinfect the water.
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. May 16, 2013.
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PROPER POOL MAINTENANCE
Having a swimming pool is great, but pool maintenance is a daily concern. Sure, you can have a lot of fun, get plenty of exercise, cool off on hot days and make your backyard look great, but if you do not master a set pool maintenance schedule, your swimming pool will quickly become unsanitary and possibly even an eye sore. Getting professional pool maintenance can be very expensive. Learn good pool maintenance practices right now.
Some people think that pool maintenance is not a big deal or that the chlorine does most of the work and you just add a little more of it every now and then. However, this is not good pool maintenance and it could be dangerous to your health to swim in a pool that has received pool maintenance like this. The owner of a pool must do more than just give the pool some occasional attention. Pool maintenance is something that is a daily chore and there are also additional weekly and monthly tasks for proper pool maintenance.
There are pool maintenance tasks that have to be done on a daily basis in order to ensure that the swimming pool stays in good condition. Water has a tendency to attract pollutants and grow bacteria quickly, a factor that requires pool maintenance to be performed as part of a daily schedule. Proper pool maintenance calls for the filter to be run for 10 to 12 hours every day. This is probably the easiest part as it just involves flipping a switch. However, there are other daily tasks such as testing and adjusting the levels of sanitizer and giving the pool a visual inspection for the three C's: Clarity, color, and contaminants. Testing the water temperature is also an important daily task.
Besides the daily routine for pool maintenance, there are also weekly pool maintenance tasks that must be performed. Weekly tasks included testing and adjusting oxidizer and stabilizer levels, brushing and vacuuming, checking filter pressure, as well as checking the water level. Adding a dose of algaecide should also be done as part of the weekly routine.
On top of daily and weekly pool maintenance chores, there are also parts of pool maintenance that must be done at least monthly. Tasks to be done every month include testing for dissolved solids, metals, cyan uric acid, and cleaning the filter with chemicals. When doing monthly tasks be sure to visually inspect all of the tile, grout, sealant, and exposed elements. Also the Langelier Saturation index evaluation must be performed. As a part of regular pool maintenance, it is a good idea to take a water sample to an expert monthly.
How to keep the kids safe from nasties in the pool this summer
from The Therapy Book
The school summer holidays are nearly here, and many of us will be taking the children for days out at the local swimming pool. However, how can we protect them from some of the nasties that seem to turn up more and more these days in public swimming pools?
Recently, a news article published in the New York Daily News stated that a public swimming pool in Brooklyn had to be shut down when it became contaminated with fecal material. Park officials believed the incident was caused by a dirty diaper.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a journal called Emerging Infectious Diseases. In the June 2008 issue, the CDC reported a study examining the safety of public swimming pool water in over 160 recreational water facilities. The purpose of the study was to determine how common two parasites occur in public swimming pools.
It turned out that one in 12 public swimming pools are contaminated with parasites.
Researchers in the CDC study took random samples from 160 public swimming pools around Atlanta, Georgia. Two microbial parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, were present in one out of twelve swimming pools. These parasites are found in human feces. They are spread when someone swallows swimming pool water. They are also spread if a person does not wash his or her hands after handling a dirty diaper or eats contaminated food.
The most common symptom of these two parasites is diarrhea. Children and pregnant women can become violently ill from an infestation of Cryptosporidium or Giardia. People with compromised immune systems, such as people with AIDS and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, are at risk of dying if infested with Cryptosporidium, according to the CDC.
"Baby pools" and smaller, less- frequently attended pools were found to contain the highest presence of these microbial parasites.
Practice safe swimming when visiting public water facilities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following tips to reduce the risk of becoming ill from swimming in a public swimming pool:
- Do not go swimming if you have diarrhea
- Do not allow your children to go swimming if they have diarrhea
- Make sure your children make a trip to the bathroom before swimming in a public pool
- Do not swallow or drink swimming pool water
- Teach children not to swallow or drink swimming pool water
- Change baby diapers in designated changing areas in restrooms, not at poolside
- Insist on public recreational water facilities that are properly maintained
To learn more about natural health and alternative health techniques, join THE THERAPY BOOK, the most comprehensive one-stop-shop on the web with information on more than 200 holistic therapies and the conditions they treat. Free 10-day trial. Just click on the book below.
Swimming Pool Algae and Algaecides
Causes of Algae in Swimming Pools
There are many contributing factors that can lead to algae growth in your swimming pool, but the most significant is not having enough sanitizer - usually chlorine - coupled with poor water circulation from not running the pool pump long enough. Other common influencing factors that allow algae spores to grow include:
Neglecting to shock your pool, leading to higher levels of chloramines (chlorine that has done its job and is now inactive)
Improper pH and total alkalinity in pool water
Insufficient doses of stabilizer, creating a low chlorine level in the pool
Too much phosphate in pool water
Neglecting to use preventative doses of algaecide
Not running the pool filter long enough
An overall irregular or nonexistent pool maintenance program
A pool finish that is very porous
Weather conditions that are hospitable to algae, such as high humidity and heat
The three most common types of algae in swimming pools are green, black, and mustard algae. Here's how to recognize and treat each one.
Green algae is a frequent visitor to residential swimming pools. It can vary in severity from adding a slightly green tint to the color of your pool water to as harsh as dark green fuzzy growths all over the walls and floor. In some cases, pool water is so heavily tinted with dark green algae that pool owners can't see the bottom of their pools.
To treat green algae growth, shock your pool and use an all-in-one algaecide. Read label directions or call a pool supply company with your pool's water capacity for recommended dosage and treatment instructions. After treating your pool for green algae, check the water balance - you may need to add an alkalinity increaser.
Black algae is not the most common type of algae found in swimming pools, but unfortunately if you do have it, it's the most difficult type of algae to remove. The severity of algae can be as minor as a few small black spots to entirely covering the surface of the pool.
Black algae usually grows in clusters, creating large blotchy areas. It is difficult to kill because its roots grow deep into the pool's surface and it has a tough outer coating, which makes it difficult for chemicals to attack.
To treat black algae, you will need to shock your pool and use an algaecide specially formulated to kill black algae. You will also need to use a metal control product. Be sure to adhere to a strict pool maintenance program that includes the weekly application of an algaecide to avoid a recurrence.
Yellow / Mustard Algae
Yellow or mustard algae is particularly common in swimming pools in the southern part of the US. It is most often seen as patches of dark yellow dust that covers various parts of the pool walls and floor. Mustard algae usually starts in the corners of the pool, near the steps, behind the ladder, and in other areas where the water circulation is poor.
Unless yellow algae gets into the cracks, pits, or crevices of the pool surface, it will brush off easily. Follow brushing with pool shock, then a treatment dose of algaecide formulated to treat yellow / mustard algae.
As always, follow label directions and pool chemical safety guidelines when treating algae in your pool. And remember, using algaecide weekly in a preventative dose will keep your pool clear and sparkling.
This eHow article on how to remove pool algae contains a photo illustration of thick green algae. However, PoolGear Plus advocates shocking your pool before adding algaecide, instead of the other way around as this article advises.
Key Pool Water Measurements
There are four essential measurements of a pool's "health." These measurements can be made with the Basic 5 Pool Water Test Kit. Prevent pool problems before they develop by using your pool water test kit regularly.
Chlorine Residual / Bromine: Chlorine residual is the amount of free chlorine in pool water, measured on a ppm (parts per million) basis. Similar to chlorine, bromine is used to sanitize pool water and is measured on a ppm business.
pH: pH is the balance of acidity versus alkalinity in pool water. This is measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with O being the most acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being the most alkaline.
Total Alkalinity: Total Alkalinity is the amount of certain alkaline buffering materials in pool water; it is usually measured on a ppm basis.
Acid Demand: Acid demand determines for you the amount of acid to be added to the pool water to return it to the proper pH level based on the size of your pool.
You should test your pool water regularly. Test pool water immediately after a heavy swimmer load or a storm. By keeping track of these four essential measurements you will keep your swimming pool healthy and also protect the swimmers from harmful bacteria or unbalanced pool water.
Pool Treatment 101: Introduction To Chlorine Sanitizing
Mastering the knack of maintaining a healthy pool is not difficult with the right information and a little diligence. The proper use of chlorine is a key step to keep your pool healthy.
For general pool treatment, chlorine has three essential characteristics:
1. It acts as a rapid and persistent sanitizer,
2. It is an effective algaecide, and
3. It is a strong oxidizer of undesired contaminants.
New Code Proposes CYA Restriction
According to the latest working draft of the Model Aquatic Health Code, there's no reason for indoor pools to use cyanuric acid, even in products such as dichlor and trichlor.
Though the code is currently a work in progress and thus open to comments and revisions, some in the industry are concerned about the implications of such a restriction.
Calcium deposits can creep into a pool from various sources — but a few simple steps will prevent them from taking hold.
Even a well-scrubbed pool can fall victim to metal or mineral deposits every so often.
These blemishes might form around the waterline, or harden along the steps. And because their sources can range from underground mineral layers to popular chlorine compounds, the process of tracing scale to its source — and preventing its return — can seem like a daunting task.
Liquid chemical feeders can simplify pool maintenance — but an awareness of their workings is crucial for effective use.
For much of the pool industry's history, chemicals have been added to the water in two basic ways: By pouring solutions into the pool, or by placing tablets in a feeder of some sort. These techniques are both simple and time-tested, but they're not always ideal — especially for pools with high bather loads, or those that require rapid chemical adjustments.
Preventing Saltwater Problems
Many salt-related issues can be avoided through proper knowledge of the causes and an effective maintenance regimen.
Scale, stains and cloudy water are the most common challenges with saltwater pools — but only if they are not maintained correctly.
Proper maintenance goes a long way toward avoiding common problems in these pools. Watching for early signs can also help you prevent potential issues from escalating into obvious problems.