Responding to Pool Contamination

Key points

  • Animals and body fluids (such as poop, vomit, and blood) are the most common pool contaminants.
  • Pool owners and aquatics professionals should take steps to clean the pool as soon as possible after a contamination event.
A pool net being dipped into a pool.


Keeping pools clean and free from germs helps to ensure healthy swimming experiences for all swimmers. Responding to contamination events in pools, whether they are related to animals or humans, should be done as quickly as possible.

Animals may carry germs that can contaminate pool water. It is important to take precautions when animals have been in or near the pool.

Many of the germs that cause swimming-related illnesses, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, are spread through fecal matter (poop) in the water. If a person throws up previously eaten food into the pool, it can also contain illness-causing germs. Both poop and vomit should be immediately cleaned up from pool water and surfaces.

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