Do dead animals in pools pose a health risk to swimmers?

Most dead animals in pools do not pose a health risk to swimmers. Many germs carried by animals infect only those animals, though a few of the germs they carry can infect people.

Most germs carried by animals are killed by chlorine within minutes in a well-maintained pool.


How do pool operators keep a swimming pool healthy?

Chlorine and pH are the first defense against germs that can make swimmers sick. Swimming pool operators should vigilantly monitor chlorine levels and pH, and make adjustments accordingly. The chlorine level in a pool should ideally be maintained between 2 and 4 parts per million (ppm), and should never fall below 1 ppm. The pH should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.8. Keeping the pH in the proper range will help maintain chlorine’s germ-killing power while minimizing skin and eye irritation.

Pool operators should also keep pool cleaning equipment running properly. Filters help remove debris, while pumps circulate clean, chlorinated water to all parts of the pool. In addition, periodic replacement of pool water helps reduce contaminants that are not removed in the treatment process.


How can I recognize a healthy pool?

While you can't see germs that cause RWIs, you can use your senses to help recognize the difference between a healthy pool and a potentially risky one. Look for water that's clean, clear, and blue – free from algae and unclouded. From the perimeter of the pool, you should be able to clearly see the drain or painted stripes on the pool floor. Also, look for drainage grills at the top of pool walls. Water should be constantly lapping over the grills to be filtered.

Check for tiles that feel smooth and clean. Sticky or slippery tiles are caused by algae and other unwanted organisms. Chlorine helps keep pools healthy, and will not cause a strong chemical odor in a well-maintained pool. Strong chemical odors, as well as skin, eye or respiratory irritation, are caused by the high levels of chloramines, formed when chlorine combines with contaminants brought into pools by swimmers.


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