With Atlanta’s continued severe weather alerts due to temperatures peaking in the mid to high nineties (and the accompanying air quality alerts and heat advisories) continuing throughout this week, one of my only options will be to load up the kids, some towels and our diving toys and head on out to the neighborhood pool. Oh, wait. Nevermind. We won’t be doing that because somebody keeps pooping in the pool.
We have probably received no less than ten notices over the past few years that the neighborhood pool is closed for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours “due to fecal contamination.” I know… it makes me throw up a little too (but I do it in my mouth, not in a community recreational area). It is foul and disgusting, not to mention incredibly inconvenient to the rest of the neighbors in the ‘hood when our pool gets shut down.
Don’t get me wrong… I am extremely happy that our Pool Powers That Be are following the CDC’s “Fecal Incident Response Recommendations for Pool Staff” (oh, come on – you knew that there had to be one!) in order to protect us all from recreational water illnesses that can result from ingestion by swimmers of pool water that may or may not contain Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. coli 0157:H7, or Shigella. Yummy! The CDC goes on to classify different increasing levels of contamination (based upon causation by vomit, formed stool, or diarrhea) and the quantity of chlorine concentration and disinfection time necessary to successfully remove/ eradicate each (just skim it out, 3.0 ppm for 19 minutes, and blow up the pool and start over, respectively). All this crap (pun intended) is putting a serious crimp in my summer agenda.
So the question is… What do we do about it? Do we gently remind everyone to take young children for regular, preemptive potty breaks and to always wear their swim diapers? Do we also remind people that anyone who has had stomach issues, a respiratory illness, or sickness of any kind (with or without diarrhea, just to be safe) should stay out of the public pool for at least a full week? Do we go all Joe McCarthy on them and print the names of the guilty parties in the monthly newsletter, like the Police Blotter reports of the DWI incidents in the Johns Creek Herald? Or do we ban the perps from the pool for the rest of the season?
I can tell you that none of that will serve to eliminate (pun intended) the issue. And being familiar with lawyers, I can guarantee that somebody will no doubt cry “Discrimination!” because people have no shame. Plus, accidents happen, especially when it comes to little kids and poop. We will continue to receive fecal contamination notices throughout the summer and we just have to deal with it.
My suggestion in lieu of public flogging of the guilty (which I would still TOTALLY still support in the case of a-hole teenagers who think it is a funny prank to throw dog poop into our pool) we should have a “Poop in the Food/ Drinks, Not in Our Pool Party,” where we would offer specialty drinks, Baby Ruth candy bars, and sweet corn pudding. I found this recipe on the internet, so I’m sure that with a little effort we could find many, many more.
Poop in the Pool Cocktail
2 oz chilled Blue Curacao liqueur (or blue Kool-Aid for the kiddies)
1 small Tootsie roll candy
Pour the Curacao into a shot glass and drop in a Tootsie Roll
Cheers! And I’ll see you at the pool (at least 24 – 48 hours after the next hyperchlorination, just to be safe).
Wish me luck for tomorrow…