Former employees of an aquatic center in Abe Martin Lodge, which is located inside Brown County State Park, contacted Fox59 because they are concerned about the water quality. They claim incidents where feces or diarrhea has made it into the pool are mishandled. It is an accusation that the lodge management and state officials are denying.
“How can you operate or manage a place when you know it’s like that, and you wouldn’t have your own family come?” asked Cheryl Moore, the former aquatic center manager.
She resigned her post at the end of 2012 after three years on the job. Moore said it was time to go as did two of her former employees who left the lodge a month later.
“What my managers were telling me to do wasn’t right,” said Tessa Burton, a former employee.
Among their concerns is how upper management dealt with feces and diarrhea in the pool after hours and on the weekends. They claim the pool was likely safe during most normal business hours.
“We told them there was still fecal matter in the pool, and we walked around and counted at least five pieces, and we told them, and they didn’t care,” said Zeke Bailey, another former employee.
He said there were several occasions where Moore allowed him to clock out early because he did not believe re-opening the pool was the right thing to do.
State law requires that the pool be cleared and closed for a certain amount of time after any incident. The timeline is based on the chlorine levels, and a recommendation is made as to how much chlorine needs to be added to kill the bacteria that is likely present.
In the Center for Disease Control’s ‘Fecal Incident Response recommendations for Pool Staff’ available online, a timetable is offered. At the least, 19 minutes is needed for a fecal matter incident, at least six and a half hours is required to disinfect a pool after there has been a diarrheal incident. The numbers are not exact, and they will also differ depending on how much chlorine is then used to disinfect the pool.
Fox59 asked Moore how often the state laws were violated while she was an employee. Moore said, “at least once every two to three months.”
Moore also claims how the incidents were handle may not be on record. Plus, she said, the staff was told when health department employees would be there to do water testing.
“There was more concern on the monetary part than there was on the safety part,” said Moore.
She also provided Fox59 with several managers’ logs that she had her employees fill out after the incidents. Listed is what happened and how long the pool was closed. She claims, diarrhea was sometimes treated as if it were solid fecal matter.
The general manager of the lodge, Karen Hinton, would not talk specifics about water quality when Fox59 visited the lodge, but she offered a tour of the aquatic center.
Hinton claimed they follow all state guidelines, and she had not heard of any concerns from staff or visitors.
“We have all of our records and documentation. We have no issues or guests complaints.”