Pool 'problem' forces swimmer evacuations

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— Some swimmers are starting to raise a stink about an unsavory, recurring problem at the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center.

The water had to be cleared for an hour in the mid-afternoon Monday because someone had defecated in the lap pool. Bathers were back enjoying the geothermally-heated pool shortly after 4 p.m.

Pool manager Pat Carney said poop in the pool is not unheard of it usually happens once a summer but the new millennium has brought with it a disturbing spate of similar events.

"Right after Memorial Day, we had five incidents in about 10 days," Carney said. "So, we thought we had the 'mad crapper' around here."

Things returned to normal for a short time, but the "incidents" at the pool have continued at a rate of almost one every two weeks through June and July, according to Carney.

The logical conclusion that most people reach is that infants and toddlers are to blame for the messy and dangerous problem. But Carney said the evidence suggests otherwise. And besides, parents of children younger than 3 are required to rent or purchase special swim diapers at the front desk.

Carney said the pool water is treated with ample chemicals most notably bromine to eliminate the danger from bacteria resulting from human feces in the water. While it takes a full six hours to completely turn over the water in the lap pool, Carney said the pool is sufficiently clean after an hour to allow people back in.

Carney is hopeful that the summer of 2000 is just bizarre in this regard, and that the problem will go away on its own.

"This one today, nobody has claimed. What are we going to do, put up a sign that says, 'Please use the bathroom before swimming?'" she quipped.

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210 or e-mail tomross@amigo.net

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