CDC report shows widespread fecal contamination in swimming pools

Helping keep infection out of swimming pools

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

Public swimming pools are a popular place to be during hot summer months, but it can also be a destination for infection.

A new government study of public pools finds widespread fecal contamination lurking in the water you may be swimming in.

Swimmers beware, E. Coli and other potentially dangerous parasites can bring on illness despite public pools having chlorine in the water.

Scott Marx spends most of his time in the swimming pool, working year around with young people.

“Making sure kids are safe and making sure they are having fun. It’s the best part and serving the community, that’s the best part of my job,” said Marx.

Marx is an instructor at the Bakersfield Swim Academy where pool safety is top priority.

“We keep it clean by making sure our chemicals are up.  We check it three times a day.  We make our chemicals are up, our chlorine is fine, our second chlorine have a different type of acid.  We make sure that is kept up, but we also make sure that if anything does happen in the pool, accidents things like that you know the differences between diarrhea and regular feces,” he said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently conducted a study of both indoor and outdoor pools and found nearly 60 percent of them had traces of E. coli, a bacteria that can easily be prevented.

“Usually you’re public pools will maintain the chlorine levels but even if the chlorine is high, you’ll still have issues if E. coli does get in the water,” said Marx.

The CDC says chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs right away so it’s up to the public to find ways to prevent infection from spreading.

“I make them go to the bathroom before they get in is probably the main thing and rinse off before and after,” said parent, Stacie Campbell.

In addition to taking showers and going on regular bathroom breaks, the CDC highly recommends swimmers not to swallow any of the water they swim in and look at any signs that may be posted near the swimming area.

“Well, you hope that everybody follows the same rules when you’re in there yourself.  You want to make sure you’re not getting somebody else’s germs and all of that,” said Campbell.

The recommendations from the CDC are not just for public pools, but also for lakes, rivers or if you’re using a hot tub.

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