E. Coli in 58% of public pools: Stay safe and clean this summer - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

E. Coli in 58% of public pools: Stay safe and clean this summer

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PHOENIX -

Just a week before public pools open across the valley, a disturbing new study is out. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there's fecal matter in over nearly 60 percent of public pools.

The CDC studied 161 pools in the Atlanta, Georgia area last summer and found that 58 percent of them contain e. Coli and they suspect high contamination across the country.

"Dirty," says parent Hugo Arias.

"It's disgusting," says Andronica Laves.

That pretty much sums up how parents feel after learning there's fecal matter in the majority of public pools.

"Sometimes they can cause diarrheal illness so you can have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever," says Joli Weiss, AZ Department of Health Services.

Joli Weiss says the study examined e. Coli, cryptosporidium and other bacteria that can cause rashes and ear infections. They're carried in the .14 grams of fecal matter that the average person had on their body before getting in the water.

And it takes time for chlorine to kill those germs.

"It doesn't act immediately so it takes sometimes to kill the germs, so that's why we say you never want to swallow any pool water ever."

"I believe the city of Phoenix pools are the cleanest ones in the country," says Scott Coughlin, Specialized Maintenance Supervisor City of Phoenix Parks and Rec.

Scott Coughlin is the maintenance supervisor for Phoenix pools. He's proud of the system in place.

"It monitors the PH and the chlorine levels every ten seconds, 24 hours a day. Water is tested every hour on the hour from when staff arrives in the morning until the pools closed down at night."

5-year-old Hugo Arias doesn't care if the pool is dirty. He just wants to have fun.

When kids just want to enjoy themselves, parents count on maintenance crews and good hygiene to keep them safe.

"We just do our best to make sure they follow what you say basically," says Laves.

The Dept. of Health Services says the best way to stop the spread is to shower with soap before getting in the pool -- give kids bathroom breaks at least once an hour -- and check diapers at least every 30 minutes.

Healthy Swimming Video Contest

  • create a video 2 minutes in length
  • post it to YouTube
  • to enter a video in the contest, complete an entry form here: www.azdhs.gov/waterborne
  • encourage your friends and family to vote
  • starts May 1, 2013, deadline is June 16, 2013
  • winning video announced July 4, 2013

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