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Fecal Accidents
Public Pools: Final Inspections

Responding to Fecal Accidents in Disinfected Swimming Pools

These recommendations are solely for management of fecal accidents in disinfected pools and have been taken from the May 25, 2001 edition of " Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" published by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. The recommendations do not address use of non-chlorine disinfectants because there is limited pathogen inactivation data for many of these compounds. Because improper handling of chlorinated disinfectants could cause injury, appropriate occupational safety and health requirements should be followed. 

Formed stool (solid, nonliquid)

  1. Direct everyone to leave all pools into which water containing the feces is circulated. Do not allow anyone to enter the contaminated pool(s) until all decontamination procedures are completed.

  2. Remove as much of the fecal material as possible using a net or scoop and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. Clean and disinfect the net or scoop (e.g. after cleaning, leave the net or scoop immersed in the pool during disinfection). Do not vacuum stool from the pool.

  3. Raise the free available chlorine concentration to 2 ppm and maintain the pH between 7.2 and 7.5. Ensure this concentration is found throughout all co-circulating pools by sampling at least three widely spaced locations away from return water outlets. This free available chlorine concentration was selected to keep the pool closure time to approximately 30 minutes. Other concentrations or closure times can be used as long as the CT inactivation value is kept constant.

  4. Maintain the free available chlorine concentration at 2.0 ppm (pH 7.2-7.5), for at least 25 minutes before reopening the pool. Ensure that the filtration system is operating while the pool reaches and maintains the proper free available chlorine concentration during the disinfection process.

  5. Document each fecal accident by recording date and time of the event, formed stool ordiarrhea, free available chlorine concentration at the time or observation of the event and before opening the pool, the pH, the procedures followed to respond to the fecal accident (including the process used to increase free chlorine residual if necessary), and the contact time on the pool maintenance log.

Diarrhea (liquid stool)

  1. Direct everyone to leave all pools into which water containing the feces is circulated. Do not allow anyone to enter the contaminated pool(s) until all decontamination procedures are completed.

  2. Remove as much of the fecal material as possible using a net or scoop and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. Clean and disinfect the net or scoop (e.g. after cleaning, leave the net or scoop immersed in the pool during disinfection). Do not vacuum stool from the pool.

  3. Raise the free available chlorine concentration to 20 ppm and maintain the pH between 7.2 and 7.5. Ensure this concentration is found throughout all co-circulating pools by sampling at least three widely spaced locations away from return water outlets. This chlorine and pH level should be sufficient to inactivate Cryptosporidium and should be maintained for at least 8 hours, equivalent to a CT inactivation value of 15,300. A higher or lower free available chlorine level/inactivation time can be used as long as a CT inactivation value equaling 15,300 is maintained for Cryptosporidium inactivation. If necessary, consult an aquatics professional to determine and identify the feasibility, practical methods, and safety considerations before attempting the hyperchlorination of any pool. † CT refers to concentration (C) of free available chlorine in ppm multiplied by time (T) in minutes. If pool operators want to use a different chlorine concentration or inactivation time, they need to ensure that CT values always remain the same.

  4. Ensure that the filtration system is operating while the pool reaches and maintains the proper free available chlorine concentration during disinfection.
     

  5. Backwash the filter thoroughly after reaching the CT value. Be sure the effluent is discharged directly to waste and in accordance with state or local regulations. Do not return the backwash through the filter. Where appropriate, replace the filter media.
     

  6. Swimmers may be allowed into the pool after the required CT value has been achieved and the free available chlorine level has been returned to the normal operating range allowed by the state or local regulatory authority (at least 1 ppm). Maintain the free available chlorine concentration and pH at standard operating levels based on state or local regulations. If necessary, consult state orlocal regulatory authorities for recommendations on bringing the free available chlorine levels back to an acceptable operating range.

  7. Document each fecal accident by recording date and time of the event, formed stool ordiarrhea, free available chlorine concentration at the time or observation of the event and before opening the pool, the pH, the procedures followed to respond to the fecal accident (including the process used to increase free chlorine residual if necessary), and the contact time on the pool maintenance log.



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