Public pools can be contaminated, health officials warn

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Pool season is officially underway in Central Indiana, but before you jump in, health officials want you to wash yourself with soap and water.

Fox59 discovered there can be a lot of unwanted bacteria swimming in the pool before you ever get in. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports more than half of the nation’s pools are contaminated.

“The water can get a little murky,” said Chief Microbiologist Jaima Ballentine with HML Labs in Muncie, a lab responsible for testing hundreds of pools across Central Indiana and has already seen some samples with plenty of coliform, or fecal matter.

Those pools will usually shock the water with a high amount of chlorine and then submit a new sample to the lab.

“The total coliform the CDC is particularly worried about is E. coli,” said Ballentine. “You swallow enough of that, if that material is in there, you’re gonna get sick.”

It’s why the CDC is asking swimmers to shower with soap and water before getting in. That’s already been a longtime rule at YMCA pools.

“We see hundreds of people through this pool on a daily basis,” said Sara Noyed, associate executive director at the Jordan YMCA. “Every person who comes should take a shower and just get off any germs that they have on them.”

It’s a precaution that seems to be working for the YMCA to keep swimmer safe and the summertime activity fun.

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