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Cleaning and Remediation

	pool net

Regular care of your private pool or hot/tub spa is important to keep the water clean and balanced and your equipment functioning properly. However, accidents will happen, especially with young swimmers. Below you will find information about how to handle a fecal incident in your private pool.

 

What should I do if someone poops in the pool?

Follow these steps to remove formed poop or diarrhea and disinfect the water:

  • Close the pool to swimmers.
  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Remove the poop using a net or bucket. Do not vacuum the poop from the pool.
  • Clean as much poop as possible from the item used to remove the poop and dispose of it in a sanitary manner.
  • Disinfect the item used to remove the poop by immersing it in the pool during the 30-minute disinfection time described below.
  • Remove and dispose of gloves
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Raise the free chlorine concentration to, or maintain it at, 2 parts per million (ppm) and maintain the pH at 7.5 or less for 30 minutes.
  • Confirm that the filtration system is operating properly.

For public pools, the pool operator should raise the free chlorine concentration very high for hours if someone has diarrhea in the pool since it might contain the chlorine tolerant parasite Cryptosporidium. This recommendation does not apply to residential pools. Members of one family or the same household are less likely to spread Cryptosporidium to each other if they use the same pool. Additionally, raising the free chlorine concentration very high for hours increases the risk of pool chemical injuries to residential pool owners (for example, respiratory distress or chemical burns) if the pool chemicals are mishandled. This means it is very important for swimmers to follow the steps of healthy swimming whether they use public or residential pools.

What should I do if someone poops in the hot tub/spa?

  • Close the hot tub/spa to bathers.
  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Remove the poop using a net or bucket.
  • Drain water from the hot tub/spa. This includes draining the piping as much as possible.
  • Scrub and clean all accessible surfaces in contact with contaminated water.
  • Replace or clean filter media when appropriate.
  • Refill hot tub/spa with water.
  • Achieve pH 7.2–7.8 and free chlorine concentration of at least 3 ppm or free bromine concentration of at least 4 ppm. The free chlorine and pH should remain at these levels for 30 minutes.
  • Remove as much poop as possible from item used to remove the poop and dispose of it in a sanitary manner.
  • Remove and dispose of gloves
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

What else can be done to promote Healthy Swimming?

The best way to kill germs is by routinely measuring and adjusting both chlorine and pH levels. Since a few germs can survive for long periods in even the best maintained pools, it is also important that all swimmers using the pool follow the steps of healthy swimming (don’t swim when ill with diarrhea, don’t swallow pool water, take frequent bathroom breaks, and practice good hygiene). Combining the steps of healthy swimming with good chlorine and pH control will reduce the spread of recreational water illnesses.

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