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Pool Reflections ..

A day in the life of a Florida public pool inspector
Pool Reflections .. Pool Reflections ..

Animal Contamination in the Pool By Lauren Broom

“Critters” in the pool area are one of many items a pool service tech has to respond to. Animals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians are examples that fall into the “critter” category. They can carry microorganisms that can contaminate pool water.

It is always important for pool techs to keep pools clean and respond appropriately when animals have been in or near the pool water.

Pool techs have a very important role in keeping the pool healthy and safe so that there is no spread of illness to people from animal contamination.

What kind of animals may a pool tech encounter?

Pool techs may encounter many different animals, insects, reptiles, or amphibians in the pool area. Some common examples include dogs, cats, gators, rabbits, frogs, insects, spiders, snakes, bears, raccoons, and many different kinds of birds. There are always those weird encounters with horses, cows, giraffes, deer, sharks, or even hippos.

Fences are a good deterrent, but they cannot always stop the “critters” from entering the pool or the pool area. Pool covers are better at keeping animals out of the pool.

What Should a Pool Tech do when finding a dead animal in the pool?

Most of the time, dead domesticated or wild animals in the pool water do not pose a risk to people.

However, there are specific microorganisms that some animals may carry that may be harmful to people. Most of these microorganisms are easily killed by chlorine disinfection within minutes if the pool tech properly maintains the pool water.

Pool techs should ensure these steps are followed when finding a dead animal in the pool water:

• Immediately close the pool.

• Ensure that the pool filtration system is running.

• Put on disposable gloves.

• Use a skimmer net or 5-gallon buckets to remove the dead animal body from the pool water.

• Double bag the dead animals’ bodies in plastic bags.

• Clean off the items used to scoop the dead animal’s body out of the water.

• Remove gloves and put them into the disposable bag with the dead animal’s body.

• Close garbage bags and dispose of them properly per local codes.

• Wash hands immediately after the removal of the dead animal.

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]

Lauren Broom • Raise the free chlorine level to 2 ppm for 30 minutes at a pH level of 7.5 or less and a water temperature of 77 º F or higher.

• Place the item used to remove the dead animal body from the pool water and let it sanitize in the pool water for 30 seconds to stop any possible cross-contamination.

• After the above steps are followed, the pool can be re-opened to swimmers.

What should a pool tech do when finding a bird or bird poop in the pool?

Pools are man-made and are still perceived by birds similar to a lake or pond. For this reason, many birds are attracted to pools. Due to this, people may come into contact with bird poop while in the pool water. Many microorganisms could be found in bird poop. Duck and goose poop may contain microorganisms like E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or Cryptosporidium (Crypto). Most of these microorganisms can be killed by chlorine disinfection and proper maintenance by the pool tech.

Pool techs should ensure these steps are followed when finding birds or bird poop in the pool water:

• Immediately close the pool.

• Ensure that the pool filtration system is running.

• Put on disposable gloves.

• Use a skimmer net or 5-gallon bucket to remove bird or bird poop from the pool water.

• Clean off the items used to scoop the bird or bird poop out of the water.

• Place the item used to remove bird or bird poop from the pool water and let it sanitize in the pool water for 30 seconds to stop any possible cross-contamination.

• Remove gloves and put them into a disposable bag with the bird poop.

• Wash hands immediately after the removal of bird or bird poop.

• Raise the free chlorine level to 2 ppm for 30 minutes at a pH level of 7.5 or less and a water temperature of 77 º F or higher.

• After the above steps are followed, the pool can be re-opened to swimmers.

What should a pool tech do if there was a raccoon or raccoon poop in the pool??

Raccoons can spread microorganisms to people. Most importantly, pool techs need to keep raccoons and raccoon poop out of the pool water or deck area. Raccoon poop can contain the eggs of a roundworm called Baylisascaris procyonis.

This roundworm is spread through raccoon poop and when the eggs are ingested can cause severe neurological illness in people. Proper chlorine disinfection can take care of the problem due to all other animal contamination in pool water, but not raccoon contamination. Chlorine disinfection does not kill this roundworm or its eggs.

Pool techs should ensure these steps are followed when finding raccoons or raccoon poop in the pool water:

• Immediately close the pool.

• Filter the pool water for a minimum of 24 hours.

• While wearing a face mask, backwash the pool filter to waste.

• Put on disposable gloves and replace the filter material.

• Double bag this material in plastic garbage bags.

• Remove gloves and put them in garbage bags for proper and safe disposal.

• Wash hands with soap and water.

Dead rabbits, Raccoon, Bat, Alligator, Snake

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