Maintenance Committee – Pool Contamination

The weather is warmer now and our beautiful pool and spa area is getting a lot more use and the usage is only going to increase as the summer months draw near. I am devoting my Maintenance article this month to please be respectful of your neighbor regarding pool use etiquette. Etiquette is defined as: the customary code of polite behavior in society among members of a particular group. Sharing our pool with our neighbors and guests puts us in a particular group, which calls for polite behavior.
We have had six pool closures in the past twelve months due to fecal contamination. Infants do not always cause it.
Young children have also been a cause. Once fecal matter is discovered, a Securitas Patrol Officer has everyone evacuate both the pool and the spa area. The gates are locked and any new arrivals are informed of the closure. The Patrol Officer or the office staff then contacts the Facilities Manager who contacts the maintenance staff to initiate sanitizing procedures.
The feces are removed with a net and disposed of.
Signs are posted stating the pool area is closed due to contamination.
DO NOT enter because chemicals added are hazardous to your health. Chlorine, acid and sodium bicarbonate are added to the water to rid it of any harmful contaminates.
This procedure is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pool chemistry is monitored. At the end of the sanitation process, the chemicals are adjusted to be within normal limits and the pool filters are backwashed. All of this takes anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, which becomes a huge inconvenience for those wanting to use the facilities. Use of the spa and/or sunbathing on the deck is prohibited because we have no fences around the perimeter of the pool and spa so as to prevent anyone from accidently forgetting and jumping into the chemicals and contaminates.
Even though we understand that accidents do happen, we still have to charge a fee to cover expenses involved.
Sometimes the responsible parties report themselves. Others evade responsibility and end up paying a larger fee due to increased investigative time required of management, which then creates a higher invoice. Fees are based on staff and management time, cost of chemicals, and replacement of any equipment (like a new net). If maintenance staff is not onsite and has to be called in, overtime is charged. Fees range from $300 to $450 per incident.
—Suzanne Enis

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