How clean are public pools in the Tri-Cities?


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – It may be the height of swim season, but the Center for Disease Control has put out a warning in recent weeks, saying your kids may not be alone in the water. They could be joined by a fecal parasite known as cryptosporidium, or crypto for short. It’s linked to causing prolonged diarrhea that can last a week or two.

While crypto cases are still relatively uncommon, the CDC says that swimming pool outbreaks have been on the rise, appearing in 40 states around the US, with reported outbreaks increasing on an average of 13% per year.

But the question is, how clean are public pools in the Tri-Cities?

Fairly clean, according to officers from the Tennessee Department of Health.

David Sullivan, an environmental field office manager for the northeast region, says it’s been a good pool season so far. He inspects pools around the Tri-Cities, such as the Memorial Park Community Center Pool in Johnson City. He says he’s seen consistently good water quality. Testing the pool’s water on Thursday, Sullivan confirmed chlorine and pH levels were excellent.

However, recreational water illnesses like crypto can be harder to detect.

“The bad thing about cryptosporidium is it can actually survive for a period of time in properly chlorinated water,” Sullivan said. “So even though the chlorine level may be where it’s supposed to be, there could possibly be crypto in there.”​

Sullivan says there are ways to protect yourself and your kids.​​

“Parents with younger children, we definitely recommend that they use swim diapers,” he said. “We definitely don’t recommend that they swallow any swimming pool water. We also recommend to swimmers that they don’t go swimming if they are experiencing or have recently experienced any form of diarrhea.”​

The CDC also says keeping clean and showering before and after being in the pool is the best way to prevent outbreaks.

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