Pool in the Pool

Ugh. You just heard the words, “There’s poop in the pool!” Now what?  We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to solve the problem of poop in the pool.

First Things, First

First off, you don’t have to drain all of the water out of the pool when someone poops in the pool.

There are several immediate steps, however, that you should take to prevent health issues such as harmful bacteria and parasites in the pool.

  1. Get everyone out of the pool. Don’t let anyone back in the pool until you’ve thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
  2. Remove as much of the poo as possible. If it is a hard stool (in other words, the poop is solid), remove it from the pool. Try not to break it apart. If you promptly remove the poo as soon as you see it, it’s less likely to spread any water illnesses.
  3. Use a net or a scoop to remove the poo and dispose of it.
  4. Now is not the time to vacuum the pool.
  5. Clean and disinfect the scoop and the net (and the vacuum hose if someone inadvertently used it). Then, put the tools in the pool while you follow the disinfection procedures.
  6. You may let people back in pool once chlorine maintains between 1.0-3.0ppm.

Disinfection When the Stool is Formed

If the poo is formed, here are the steps to take once you’ve removed it from your swimming pool.

  1. Raise the free available chlorine level to 2ppm.
  2. Maintain the pH of 7.5 or less.
  3. Keep the temperature at 77° or higher.
  4. Maintain your chlorine concentration for at least 25 minutes before letting anyone back in the pool.
  5. Check your filtration system. Make sure it is working while your pool reaches and maintains the proper free chlorine concentration while you are disinfecting the area.

Disinfection When the Stool is Diarrhea

In the unfortunate case of diarrhea in the pool, here are the steps to follow.

  • Raise the free available chlorine level to 20ppm.
  • Maintain the pH of 7.5 or less.
  • Keep the temperature at 77° or higher.
  • Maintain the pH and chlorine level for 8-12 hours before letting anyone back in the pool. The extremely high chlorine level will kill most germs and parasites after eight hours.
  • Your filtration system should be working the entire time.
  • Backwash your filter after the 13 hours is up.
  • Return your chlorine levels to normal.
  • You may now let people back into the pool.

Final Thoughts

Accidents happen, and many pool owners have had a least one incident to talk about.

Fecal matter in the swimming pool can carry germs and bacteria like E. coli and hepatitis A, or it can even carry parasites that can make other swimmers sick.

Illnesses from poop in the pool are most commonly spread by people who swallow pool water. Killing the germs takes a bit of time and some effort. Chlorine does work, but patience is key.

If you have questions about treating your pool or super-chlorinating the water, please feel free to talk with our expert water care professionals.