Biohazards and swimming pools
January 24, 2013 3:06 AM   Subscribe

Sorry for the squick factor but I'm curious. What happens if someone bleeds, vomits or poops in a public swimming pool? Do they just fish out the solids and let the rest disperse? Or does it all get emptied out?
posted by peter1982peter to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
Here you go.
posted by empath at 3:20 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

empath has it.

TL;DR version: this is why we chlorinate pools. With proper care and precautions, the risks from such incidents are minimal. Give the chlorine and filtration systems time to work, and you should be good to go.
posted by valkyryn at 3:35 AM on January 24, 2013

II worked at a resident camp (but not as a lifeguard) and I assume we did what was prescribed in empath's link. The pool was closed for and entire 24 hours which made for some sad kiddos. Poop was found more often than I can count, oddly, even though all of our kids were way past potty training.
posted by missriss89 at 4:45 AM on January 24, 2013

Did anyone else laugh irrationally at "Establish a fecal accident log"?
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:29 AM on January 24, 2013 [9 favorites]

Each state has their own guidelines - when I was a lifeguard and pool manager in MD in the 90s, we were supposed to raise chlorine levels above 10ppm and let the filtration system perform a full turnover (6-8 hours) before we could reopen. That was for any poop or vomit. If we actually did that, we wouldn't have been open half the summer!
In reality, we (staff) all knew that chlorine killed everything pretty quickly, so we would close for 30 minutes and make a big show of putting a little extra chlorine in at poolside so everyone could see and feel good about it.

I would imagine that a lot of pools that are given the guidelines provided by empath also take shortcuts, so maybe they only close for 15 minutes, or just dump a little extra chlorine in to make the public feel happy about the staff response - but as valkyryn said, that's why we keep chlorine in pools all the time, not just after an incident.
posted by trivia genius at 7:56 AM on January 24, 2013

I am late to this "former lifeguard" party, but what empath said. Also, where I worked, we called the records we kept "The Shit List".
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:30 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yup, totally sanitized for your protection.

You'll notice that there are diapers aimed at little kids who might go swimming? Yeah, fecal teabags.

So if you see little ones in the pool with swollen swim diapers. Don't go in.

It's absolutely VERBOTTEN to take little kids into he pools on cruise ships. That's why they have special water areas, or advise folks to bring little inflatable pools with them.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:14 AM on January 24, 2013

> So if you see little ones in the pool with swollen swim diapers. Don't go in

All disposable swim-diapers swell up the second the kid hits the pool, even if the kid hasn't so much as peed.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:20 AM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older 5 or 6 days around Christmas time. Where to go...   |   Quoting from literature in conversations Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.