More than half Atlanta public pool samples had fecal bacteria in 2012: Will you dive in this summer?

More than half of water samples taken from Atlanta-area public swimming pools last summer had fecal bacteria, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Thursday.

From The Associated Press:

“Investigators found the gut bacteria in 58 percent of the samples taken from about 150 pools in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. They were gathered from municipal pools or pools at waterparks, apartment complexes and clubs.

“Municipal pools — where young children in diapers are common — were worst, with 70 percent of samples tainted.

“No illness outbreaks were tied to the pools.

“Proper chlorine and pH levels should kill bacteria. But health officials advise people to shower before the pool, and not swim if they have diarrhea.”

I was talking to my mom on Thursday morning about which water parks we could take the kids to when we visit Atlanta this summer. I was also thinking about trying to get a limited membership to neighborhood pool for our visit so the kids could swim every day. Now I’m wondering about this.

We have a pool at our house now but it takes a lot of work to keep it up. Michael is always out there cursing as he scrubs the sides or messes with the pump and the chemicals. But it is nice to know that nobody has pooped in it.

So does the new CDC report make you not want to swim in public pools? Do you ever ask to see the pool’s testing? Do your worry more about water parks, public pools or neighborhood pools? Is the work of a home pool worth knowing no one has pooped in your pool?

41 comments Add your comment

Beck

May 17th, 2013
4:57 am

If they did all of the above last year (and the year before that, and the year before that) they’ll be fine doing them this summer too.

I can’t believe this is really news to anyone.

Mayhem

May 17th, 2013
6:55 am

I’m not a fan of “public” pools.

motherjanegoose

May 17th, 2013
7:05 am

We have a pool in our subdivision and I think it is monitored pretty well. It is typically closed down every summer, a few times, when there is s problem. Our neighbor bought a kit and used it when her kids were small. It fit in the palm of her hand and she took it with their family to the pool. She is the one who teaches HS science. It did not look complicated to me. Perhaps you could get one too?

http://www.intheswim.com/Pool-Chemicals/Pool-Water-Test-Kits-and-Testing-Supplies/

I am just back from Chicago and suburbs. . While we lived there, we had an above ground pool ( as a girl). It too was a lot of work. I am thrilled to pay for our subdivision pool here in Gwinnett. There are many people who have above ground pools in their yard but I was amazed at how their yard/pool faced a busy street ( with four lanes) and the owners had no fence around it. Two things struck me, I would not want to be walking around in my yard in a swim suit or sunbathing with folks zooming by and what if kids got into your pool when you were not there? Perhaps they have alarms? They did have a mesh type of wall around it like a trampoline here would. Seems like a big risk to have your pool facing a busy street and anyone could walk up to it or toss something in it. Is this common in other areas? Most pools in our area have a fence for liability.

I live at Lake Lanier...

May 17th, 2013
7:13 am

…and we have a lot of fecal matter in the lake – some from Gwinnett County (Forsyth County dumps theirs below the dam), but mostly from the fish who live there…so, yes, I will be diving in this summer…

FCM

May 17th, 2013
7:41 am

I beleive since the issue at White Water in the 90s they have been uber diligent in keepign it safe.

I did find this CDC article from 2001:

http://archives.cnn.com/2001/HEALTH/parenting/07/06/waterpark.safety/

apparently the more things change, the more they stay the same

jarvis

May 17th, 2013
7:46 am

It’s not just people “pooping” in the water. It’s people not properly cleaning themselves.

That’s why the CDC suggests you shower BEFORE going to the pool….cause people’s dirty buttholes are contaminating the pools. It’s never going to happen, everyone showering before getting in the pool, so swim at your own risk.

motherjanegoose

May 17th, 2013
8:09 am

@jarvis…thanks for the laugh. If you are wearing your swimsuit and you shower, at the pool, how does that help? I always cringe at boys/men who come in with old boots or high tops and then jump in the pool. Guess they do not have sandals? No telling what kind of crud is stuck to their toes in that foot wear.

i LOVE...

May 17th, 2013
8:41 am

i’ll stick to my cold mountain streams…straight off the mountain before they can be contaminated by people.

d

May 17th, 2013
8:42 am

Just scan the “people” in the pool, probably tells you all you need to know. Personally I would never set foot in that 90/10 piss water.

Sighs from Waldo

May 17th, 2013
9:05 am

conjunctions, commas

also:
limited membership to neighborhood pool

Me

May 17th, 2013
9:08 am

Yeah, I cannot imagine using a public pool — We have a neighborhood pool but only frequent that area for subdivsion parties, etc. Our backyard pool, for the most part, becomes the true “swimming hole” for us and a number of firends. And no way would I even attempt to try and maintain the pool myself. I have the chemicals and the testing supplies and do keep a keen eye on it but will gladly continue paying the pool service once a week.

K's Mom

May 17th, 2013
9:09 am

We belong to a neighborhood pool with lots of kids and I am sure even though we pay for a membership it might test positive too. My biggest gripe is moms who will not properly diaper kids who are not potty trained. My kids get a disposable swim diaper and a washable diaper cover made specifically for the pool. They are a pain to put on and change, but I know it is the best thing for everyone. I also do not take my kids to the pool if they have had even a hint of an upset stomach. If people would use good, common sense, some of the issues would go away!

Me

May 17th, 2013
9:11 am

@TWG, as a resident, why would you not already have access to your neighborhood pool? Do they offer “amenities” on an “a la carte” basis? Interesting. My old subdivision charged $850 per month and included lawn care, tennis, golf, and pool but there were no options to only select specific portions.

ech2os

May 17th, 2013
9:17 am

Oh Jesus…….more first world problems. Just stay home if you think this is an issue or a problem. People make me sick with their germaphobia.

LeeH1

May 17th, 2013
9:36 am

Just don’t use a pool if it is open to the public. After all, if it is used by people who are not your own kind, or your own race, or your own ethnicity, they are probably dirty and leave filth and are unclean.

Hmm. This idea has been around for a long, long time. They used to segregate pools to keep the “Not Our Kind” of folks from inter-mingling.

Me

May 17th, 2013
9:55 am

@K’s Mom — It goes back to the age-old problem… Responsible parents rearing responsible kids who grow up to become responsible adults/parents resulting in a number of issues never existing. Not enough of this!

Ann

May 17th, 2013
10:13 am

@ ech2os – Germaphobia is an irrational fear of germs. When 70% of municipal pools in the Atlanta area test positive, indicating issues, concern is actually rational and common sense. Germaphobia would mean being overly concerned about germs when there is little evidence for concerns. While these reports do not necessarily keep us from swimming, they are useful, as they draw public attention and help pool operators to improve. I just wish they would actually publish the specific pools that failed tests, as they do with restaurant test scores. That would really prompt improvement.

Anyone living in Georgia back in the 1980’s will remember the Whitewater water park incident that caused 26 children to become ill, with 1 death and 7 hospitalizations, including kids with strokes and other very serious illnesses. This incident led to nation-wide changes in a variety of pool policies. You rarely see the “old style” kiddie pool anymore, with a foot of stagnant water. If you see a kiddie pool now, it is designed with features that create constant movement of water through it. Also, this incident led to the widespread swim diaper policies. I do think that parents should not be “complacent” with swim diaper protection and should make sure they frequently check the diapers and also frequently take their kids to the bathroom.

Ann

May 17th, 2013
10:20 am

@ LeeH1 – This is not a racial issue. You are the only one injecting race. We all know that everyone poops and there are plenty of kids and adults (of all races) who enter the pool without properly cleaning their butts. And plenty of toddlers in swimming diapers with poop inside. This is about pool operators maintaining their facility properly and parents monitoring their kids bathroom habits and stomach illnesses. Public pools have high incidences of issues (more so than private pools) usually because the higher volume of kids in the pool. Numbers add up. It doesn’t matter what race the kids are.

DB

May 17th, 2013
10:43 am

It is what it is. If you’re going to worry about it the entire summer, then don’t bother. Use the money you would have spent at the neighborhood pool, hire a pool service, and enjoy your pool. Problem solved.

motherjanegoose

May 17th, 2013
10:45 am

@ Me….TWG has her own pool in AZ. She has family in metro ATL and she is probably coming back to GA to visit them this summer. This is how I read it but sometimes my reading comprehension is off. Anyone?

$850 per month….WHEW! We pay $450 per year for our pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, picnic pavilion and general subdivision upkeep. I find this reasonable! We do not have golf nor lawn care.

LJ

May 17th, 2013
10:47 am

And how many toothbrushes do you think have fecal bacteria on them? Do you always close the lid before you flush? Do your kids?

motherjanegoose

May 17th, 2013
12:24 pm

@ LJ…yuck…our potty is in an enclosed room in the larger bathroom and that is where I brush my teeth.

OFF TOPIC BUT SINCE YOU MENTIONED THE BATHROOM….

my daughter found this GREAT way to clean scum off of the shower: equal parts white vinegar and blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Spray from a bottle and let sit for an hour. Simply wipe off. Even works for the handles and shower head.

We bought a LARGE vinegar at Costco for $3.17 and several Dawn bottles on sale at Walgreen’s for 99 cents. It really worked for our showers and now they sparkle!

Uh, motherjane...

May 17th, 2013
1:16 pm

…please re-read you first paragraph @ LJ – I do not think you meant to say what you said…funny how placement of words can change the meaning of what on is trying to say…

Uh, motherjane...

May 17th, 2013
1:17 pm

oops – “on” = “one”

Mayhem

May 17th, 2013
1:23 pm

So I guess MJG multi-tasks in the mornings….LOL.

DB

May 17th, 2013
1:35 pm

@MJG: I read that same article, about the droplets that escape when a toilet is flushed. Ugh. But I am going to try that little trick with the vinegar and the Dawn — I wonder why it has to be the blue Dawn? I always thought the colors were just to cater to color preferences!

motherjanegoose

May 17th, 2013
1:35 pm

OOOOPS…haha punctuation omission….The potty is in an enclosed room, in the larger bathroom. The sink in the larger bathroom is where I brush my teeth and not near the potty.

I do multi task though!

motherjanegoose

May 17th, 2013
1:36 pm

@ DB…I do not know but it worked so well that I am not trying another color…haha!

Me

May 17th, 2013
2:16 pm

@MJG – I hadn’t read it from the perception you provided – you are probably correct. And we now pay around $400 per year also. We now only have the sub-division pool, a little bit of landscaping, and security for which the HOA handles.
The previous sub was in Johns Creek now – Duluth at that time – and was golf, tennis, pool, clubhouse, bar, restuarant, etc. and way expensive and over-priced – most of which we rarely utilized.

thekimmer

May 17th, 2013
2:26 pm

Ever go swimming in a lake or the ocean? Guess what those thousands or millions of animals that live in and around the water do when its time to go? Oh, and no chlorine either.

FCM

May 17th, 2013
2:27 pm

I would love to pay for lawncare…I have even stood in my lawn (which needs help) as those guys that obviously do lawncare come by. I try to wave them down; but apprently they just think I am being friendly. They wave back and keep driving

FCM

May 17th, 2013
2:27 pm

@ LJ our toothbrushes are not near the toliet. There is a wall between them.

Seriously?

May 17th, 2013
2:37 pm

FCM – maybe you should try CALLING the landscapers/lawn maintenance companies instead of trying to wave them down. How odd.

HB

May 17th, 2013
2:37 pm

I don’t think the blue Dawn contains antibiotics, but some (maybe all?) of the other variations do, so that may be the reason for sticking with the original. The stuff with triclosan (sp?) is just bad to use in general.

Me

May 17th, 2013
2:41 pm

Well, urine itself is virtually sterile other than what bacteria it picks up between leaving the body and bouncing/spashing off the potty and assuming no UTI’s,etc.
But, we still brush at the vanity and not in the “potty room”…

Denise

May 17th, 2013
2:43 pm

FCM – Instead of waving them down, stop by where they are working. That way you can see if they are doing a good job AND you don’t have to chase them down. That is what I did and ended up with a guy who did a great job. He even picked up furniture, a freezer, and a refrigerator that i was giving away because he knew of people that needed them.

DB

May 17th, 2013
2:44 pm

FCM: You gotta call them — the guys you are trying to wave down are probably just the workers, and wouldn’t be able to give you an estimate or set you up on a schedule. They get their schedule each morning and off they go.

Common Sense

May 17th, 2013
3:27 pm

At our subdivision in Suwanee at least once a year there would be a fecal contamination that would require draining and disinfecting of the pool. Always a small child involved. What the hell is wrong with you parents? I never swam in that pool. Just disgusting. Glad to now be out of that cesspool and very much enjoy my own pool now with no kids and no crap. It was bad enough that we could never get even one free adults-only hour to enjoy, but the parental irresponsibility with the kids was more than anyone should have to put up with.

Common Sense

May 17th, 2013
3:28 pm

George Carlin was famous for once joking “don’t swim in the ocean – fish f*** in it.” Something to think about.

jose benzaca

May 18th, 2013
9:08 am

WOW, there was never fecal bacteria in pools prior to 2012. What is happening with this country.
As far as the comment about fecal material on a toothbrush, folks need to check out a Mythbusters show where they tested this theory. To summerize, they found fecal germs on toothbrush in the same bathroom as the toilet and in rooms separated from the bathroom by multiple walls. Face it folks, you can’t get away from it. Might as well enjoy that pool with clean teeth

FCM

May 18th, 2013
7:10 pm

@Seriously, I am so glad you said to call the company. Gosh why didnt I think of that.? Oh yeah, I have did. I have actually had to fire 2 companies. So slither back in your lair.

I am flagging the down to get a business card to call.

Spent the day playing in the dirt today.