Fecal Accident Policy & Procedure

We feel crappy that we have to address this fecal issue that keeps happening at the Community Swimming Pool, but we’re going to push through and use this as a turning point. 

While talking poop is not our favorite topic, we have become some sort of experts on the subject. We are releasing this statement to not only explain our process when these accidents happen, but to also share our brainstorm of solutions to address the issue. 

First, let’s talk about the two main precautions that we’ve come up with to prevent the accidents. 

One-The Truckee Community Pool requires a snug fitting reusable swim diaper with elastic on top and legs for all children 3 and under.  No disposable diapers are allowed & diapers are available for purchase at the pool. Once the customer passes the front desk, however, we can only hope that the child puts the diaper on.  

Why do we require diapers for children that may be potty trained on land?  

  1. The pool is fun!  When children are playing and having a great time, they tend to forget to pay attention to their body or choose to ignore the urge because of the work it takes to go to the bathroom when you are wet and in a life jacket.
  2. The warm water of the pool (88-89°) relaxes people.  This makes it easier for their bodies to urinate or poop-without even realizing it. Yes, it’s true. We have seen it with our own eyes! 
  3. People with a stomach bug or upset bowels have less control over their bodies.  Wet farts are a real (and gross) problem. They will shut down the pool.
  4. Two-We have a 10-minute “Bathroom Break” every hour, on the hour.  Contrary to what some may think, this break was implemented to prevent fecal accidents.   Please help us by encouraging your child to go to the bathroom during the break.  

Next, we want to explain why our pool is closed more than other pools. We don’t think it is because we have more accidents. 

According to our governing body, the Nevada County Department of Environmental Health, we are required by law (Title 22 Code) that-if there is a diarrhea stool, the chlorine needs to be raised to 20 ppm for 12.75 hours.  Typical chlorine levels are 3.0 and to raise, maintain and then lower the chlorine levels take time- about 24 hours to be exact.  You can read the requirements yourself on the Nevada County Website.

Being a public pool, we are held to higher standards than private pools. But, should we be?! 

While talk may be centered on what TDRPD is doing wrong, we believe the talk should be on what we are doing right by strictly following the health code rules.  We follow these procedures for your safety.    

It is expensive, time consuming and gross. We all hate it.  Please understand that the last thing we want to do is close our amazing Recreation Pool.  

So, what’s next? How do we take further steps to prevent this from continuing to happen? Here are some of our ideas:

  1. Increase awareness through better and more prevalent signage. 
  2. More aggressive checking that diapers are being worn. Station a lifeguard for a “diaper check” rotation out of the bathrooms.
  3. Increase breaks to once every 30 minutes for 5 minutes
  4. Reduce water temperature in pool. Seems crazy, but just think about how many pools are maintained at this temperature? How many incidents are because people are relaxed in the warm water? The higher the water temperature the more bacteria, algae and organisms thrive.  
  5. Encourage pool patrons to support our actions. If you have a child that doesn’t want to wear a diaper, refrain from using the word “diaper” when speaking to them.  Instead, tell your child that they are “super swim pants” or “speedy underwear.” Make it positive instead of negative, because they will feed off of your emotions and words. 

We thank you all for your patience when this happens, and we hope to greatly reduce the amount of pool closures as we move forward through the year. 

Want to learn more? 

Here is the nitty-gritty of poops in the pool and what we do to keep you safe:

There are two types of fecal incidents:

1.       Formed Fecal Matter

2.       Diarrhea

Formed Fecal Matter: 1 hour closure

Main Concern:  Giardia- an intestinal parasite disease. Can last 1-2 weeks. Diarrhea, gas, stomach upset are common symptoms

Our process to kill or inactivate giardia: 

1.       Close venue to swimmers

2.       Remove material

3.       Raise/maintain chlorine to at least 2.0 ppm, PH to 7.5 or less for 25-30 minutes

4.       Make sure water is being filtered and circulated

5.       Reopen 25-30 minutes after chlorine level reached

6.       Log incident

Diarrhea: 24 hour closure

Main Concern: Cryptosporidium- the leading cause of waterborne illness, parasite. Can last 1-2 weeks. Can be more serious in people with compromised immune systems.

Our process to kill or inactivate Cryptosporidium: 

1.       Close venue to swimmers

2.       Remove as much material as possible

3.       Increase chlorine to between 10-20 ppm for roughly 12-24 hours (goal is CT of 15,300 -concentration of chlorine * time)

4.       Confirm water is being filtered and circulated

5.       Backwash filter system

6.        Re-open after CT of 15,300 achieved and chlorine and PH are in regular operating range

7.       Log incident