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Pool Reflections …

A day in the life of a Florida public pool inspector
Pool Reflections …
CDC Fecal Accident Response Recommendations for Aquatics Staff.
Pool Reflections …
CDC Fecal Accident Response Recommendations for Aquatics Staff.

By Lauren Broom How Should Florida Pool Techs Handle Fecal Accidents?

Poop in the pool! This scenario sounds funny and makes everyone run out of the pool. On the contrary, this is a very serious situation that needs to be handled properly by pool professionals. What should pool techs know about how to handle poop, also known as a fecal accident in the pool? Poop can enter the water from: a child who is not fully potty trained, leaky swim diaper from child or adult, adults with broken colostomy bags, or an ill person who had a diarrhea accident in the water. Pool techs cannot just scoop the poop out of the water. Many of the organisms spread by poop contamination can be highly resistant to chlorine.

Number 1, never drink the pool water! Pool techs should help to educate their pool patrons if they see them engaging in this very bad habit. Properly maintained pool water is safe to swim in but not to drink! Pool water is not potable.

What organisms should pool techs be worried about?

The tough-to-kill organisms that pool techs should be worried about are Giardia and the cryptosporidium (Crypto) species. These organisms are protozoan parasites that can take hours to days to kill with normal chlorine levels in pool water. These protozoans are spread by the fecal-oral route. What does that mean? Hand to mouth. Once these organisms are ingested, they can cause a variety of unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps.

What’s the big deal? Maybe I can lose some weight if I get sick with one of these organisms. Most people will get sick with previously stated symptoms, will not get tested and let

www.cdc.gov.

Lauren Broom

Lauren Broom is a Certified Pool Operator Course, CPO , instructor and a former health inspector for the Florida Department of Health. Lauren has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and is a registered sanitarian.

She has 16-years of experience in commercial pool inspections and waterborne disease outbreak investigations.

Lauren lives in Palm Bay, Florida with her husband of 17 years and their 3 children. Lauren can be reached at [email protected] the illness run its course. They will never go see a doctor. The population of people that can be highly affected by these organisms and can get much more ill are: elderly, small children, and those people who have a lowered immune system due to other ongoing illness.

What should pool techs do if there is poop in their pool?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided pool techs with a document titled, “Fecal Accident Response Recommendations for Aquatics Staff” that can be used for all poop incidents in swimming pools. Pools techs should strictly follow these guidelines as the “bible” for poop incidents. The guidelines will help to prevent recreational water outbreaks from organisms like Crypto, but only if the steps in the guidelines are strictly followed.

What to do for solid poop incidents?

The disease threat being targeted here is specifically Giardia.

Pool techs should use the following steps: 1) Tell everyone to get out of the pool area.

2) Scoop the poop out, never vacuum it out.

3) Dispose of poop according to your local authorities. Most likely have to bag it and put into the regular trash.

4) Place your poop scooping equipment (pooper scooper) into the water to sanitize just like the water—last thing you want to do is to contaminate the pool again later OR contaminate another pool on your route.

5) Raise the free chlorine level using un-stabilized chlorine (i.e.: sodium hypochlorite) to 2 ppm or higher.

Keep the free chlorine ppm at that level for 25-30 minutes with pH level of 7.5 or lower. Lower pH gives better activity of the chlorine to kill organisms.

6) Confirm that the filtration system was operating while the pool water reaches and is maintained at proper free chlorine and pH for disinfection.

7) Once steps above are completed, the pool tech can re-open the pool to normal operations.

What to do for diarrheal poop incidents?

The disease threat being targeted here is specifically Crypto.

1) Tell everyone to get out of the pool area.

2) Scoop the poop out, never vacuum it out.

3) Dispose of poop according to your local authorities. Most likely have to bag it and put into the regular trash.

4) Place your poop scooping equipment (pooper scooper) into the water to sanitize just like the water—last thing you want to do is to contaminate the pool again later OR contaminate another pool on your route When chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid or conditioner) is NOT present in the water: 5) Raise the free chlorine level using un-stabilized chlorine (i.e.: sodium hypochlorite) to 20 ppm or higher. Keep the free chlorine ppm at that level for 12.75 hours with pH level of 7.5 or lower. Lower pH gives better activity of the chlorine to kill organisms.

Raise the free chlorine level using un-stabilized chlorine (i.e.: sodium hypochlorite) to 20 ppm or higher.

Keep the free chlorine at that level for 12.75 hours with pH level of 7.5 or lower. Lower pH gives better activity of the chlorine to kill organisms.

When chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid or conditioner) IS present in the water at levels of 1-15 ppm: 5) Raise the chlorine level using un-stabilized chlorine (i.e.: sodium hypochlorite) to: a. Raise free chlorine level to 20 ppm and keep it there for 28 hours OR b. Raise free chlorine level to 30 ppm and keep it there for 18 hours OR c. Raise free chlorine level to 40 ppm and keep it there for 8.5 hours Keep pH at 7.5 or lower. Lower pH gives better activity of the chlorine to kill organisms.

When chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid or conditioner) IS present in the water at levels above 15 ppm: 5) Lower concentration of the cyanuric acid to 15 ppm or below by draining partially and adding fresh water without cyanuric acid before completing the remaining steps.

6) Confirm that the filtration system was operating while the pool

water reaches and is maintained at proper free chlorine and pH for disinfection.

7) Backwash and clean filter to waste, being careful with cartridge filter to not breath in water droplets.

It is recommended that you wear mask.

8) Lower chlorine level to allowable ranges by local health authority.

9) Once steps above are completed, the pool tech can reopen the pool to normal operations if free chlorine level meets local health authority requirements.

Are hot tubs/spas, water playgrounds and splash pads treated differently than pools?

These aquatic venues can have much smaller amounts of water. Pool techs should completely drain as much water as possible from the venue and its associated plumbing. This step should be followed by scrubbing and cleaning of all accessible surfaces of the venue in contact with the contaminated water. Next, the pool tech should replace or clean the filter media when needed and then refill the venue with new uncontaminated water from an approved water source.

Should all poop accidents be treated the same?

No. As stated earlier, diarrheal accidents are a higher risk event than a formed stool poop in the pool water. Thus, these two different poop incidents must be treated differently based on scientific data.

Should a pool tech treat a formed poop accident like it has Crypto in it?

No. in 1999, the CDC had conducted tests on water samples collected from about 300 aquatic venues across the country.

The findings were 4.4% of the samples collected had Giardia in them, but no samples contained Crypto.

These findings helped the CDC determine that formed poop accidents pose a very small risk to spread Crypto but has potential to spread Giardia.

What about residential pools with fecal accidents?

Residential backyard pools can also be a source of recreational water illnesses. Yes, it is true that public pools will have bigger potential for a larger outbreak. Thus, pool techs should treat residential backyard pools the same as any public pool on their service route. All pools deserve the same proper maintenance for health and safety!

What are the fecal accident requirements in Florida?

Chapter 64E-9.004(11), Florida Administrative Code requires that pool techs follow the CDC “Fecal Accident Response Recommendations for Aquatics Staff” for all human fecal “poop” accidents.

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