CDC Finds Fecal Matter in 58 Percent of Public Pool Filters - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

CDC Finds Fecal Matter in 58 Percent of Public Pool Filters

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CLARKSBURG -

Public pools fill up in the summer when temperatures rise and the sun beats down.

But recent findings by the Centers for Disease Control suggests swimming is a little too dirty for comfort.

The CDC reports that 58 percent of sampled public pool filters tested positive for E. coli, an indicator of fecal matter.

According to the study, swimmers need to follow some basic protocols to reduce those numbers. This includes bathing before swimming and refraining from swimming when experience diarrhea.  

Sanitarian Bill Nestor said the reports by the CDC are shocking, but shouldn't scare people away from public pools in Harrison County.

Nestor said the pools in Harrison County are tested weekly by the Health Department and multiple times daily by the pools themselves.

While those numbers suggest more than half of public pools are carrying fecal matter, Nestor said proper cleaning and testing would bring those numbers closer to zero. 

"Workers aren't taking care of the issue by cleaning filtration and skimmers properly. They should be doing that consistently and if they are, they shouldn't have a problem," said Bill Nestor, sanitarian.

Nestor said chemicals like chlorine are a "kill-all" and if the levels are where they should be, bacteria should essentially be nonexistent.  

The Clarksburg Splash Zone Aquatic Center opened up for the season a few weeks ago. It opened up with a brand new filtration system and testing techniques.  Clarksburg City Parks and Recreation superintendent John Cooper said the Clarksburg pool is tested at least three times daily.  

The city invested in a Water Quality Controller that constantly reads and reports pH levels and chlorine levels.  

He said the machine is more accurate and reliable than the more traditional method of simply dumping chemicals into the pool by hand.

"If you hand feed there's more than likely you are going to overfeed, that can cause other issues," said John Cooper, Clarksburg City Parks.

The pool in Clarksburg is constantly running through a filter system and the filter itself is cleaned weekly through back flow.  The pool filters the baby pool more frequently, as it tends to deplete of chlorine levels more rapidly, and has a higher "accident" risk factor.  

Nestor encouraged swimmers to use bathing oils and sunscreens sparingly, as this can cause chlorine levels to drop in the pool.  

Cooper said the pool in Clarksburg also requires children who aren't potty-trained to wear waterproof diapers, to prevent any accidents from getting into the pool.