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June 7, 2016

CDC Releases Annual "Poop in the Pool" Report

Pam Davenport - Email

Nicholas Rupp - Email

(Salt Lake County) – Every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prepares a public announcement, often referred to as its annual “poop in the pool report” to remind the public that, while swimming is a great way to exercise or spend time with family, they need to be vigilant in following healthy swimming guidelines, like showering before getting in the pool.* 

This year, the CDC report shows that the national closure rate for pools deemed unhealthy is 12.8% due to serious health, hygiene or safety violations.  Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) officials are quick to tout that the closure rate of public pools in Salt Lake County is only 7%—due in part to a number of quality improvement projects the health department has implemented over the past 10 years.

“Many of our improved processes came after Utah’s 2007 crypto outbreak, which was the largest in the country,” explains Teresa Gray, Water Quality Bureau Manager for SLCoHD. “Public health and our partners in the pool industry have collaborated closely and worked hard to prevent that kind of a pool-related illness outbreak from happening again.”

In the report, federal health officials said nearly 80 percent of 48,632 water venues—including public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds—were found to have at least one safety or hygiene violation.  Alarmingly, officials closed one in eight of these sites immediately after inspection due to serious health and safety violations.

“Our low pool closure rate is a result of implementing standards and regulations that directly impact the health of swimmers,” said Rick Ledbetter, Environmental Health Supervisor. “For instance, we require each pool to have a Registered Operator, which is much more restrictive than most other states. Each pool also has to have a log book with daily water testing results and most of the recreation centers require the staff to test each hour. Overall, the public pools in Salt Lake County do a very good job at keeping the public safe, but we need swimmers to do their part, too.”

*Healthy Swimming Guidelines
  • Don’t swim if you have diarrhea
  • Take a cleansing shower with soap before you enter the pool
  • Don’t change diapers by the side of the pool
  • Take kids for a bathroom break every hour
  • Wash your hands after changing diapers and after every bathroom break