Staff found fecal contamination in the Collier Pool on the afternoon of July 4th. The pool closed for the remainder of the day, and was decontaminated.
The Health Department says there are several recreational water illnesses that can be caught from swimming in a pool contaminated with fecal waste. Germs can cause infections and illnesses like E. coli and Norovirus.
Jay Ellington, the director of Parks and Recreation, says lifeguards check and maintain pH and chlorine levels in city pools hourly. This is done to ensure the water meets all requirements, protecting people from recreational water illnesses. However, if the levels are off or there is unwanted matter in the pool, there is protocol to follow.
"Normally, when we run across anything that’s unusual or left in the pool or taints the chemical levels, we generally close the pool immediately," Ellington said.
The unwanted matter is then removed from the pool, and the pool is treated with chemicals to balance out the pH and chlorine levels. The pools filtering system then does its work for as little as an hour to as long as half a day.
Collier Pool swimmers were forced to spend the rest of their Fourth of July holiday at home, while the water filtered throughout the night. But the swimmers understand accidents happen.
"This is the summer, and it’s hot days and kids need exercise, and well, things happen unfortunately," said Collier Pool swimmer, John J. Nelson Jr.
The Health Department has some tips for swimmers to avoid getting sick. Avoid swallowing pool water and take kids to the bathroom every hour.
Collier Pool reopened Thursday morning at 5 a.m.