You’re soaking in it


So I get this text message yesterday from a friend, telling me that he and his daughter are going to the pool at 1:00. We’re out running errands, but it’s hot as hell outside, so we decide to join them. By the time we pick up our swimsuits and make it to the pool, it’s a little after 2:30. Unfortunately, our friends were gone by the time that we got inside, but we had a great time. We swam for about two and a half hours. Then, on the way out, I check my messages and saw that my friend had written back just a few minutes after we’d hopped into the pool, to tell us that he and his daughter had decided not to swim there after seeing someone vomit into it. That’s right, they’d watched someone puke into the same pool Clementine, Linette and I had just spent hours splashing around in. Maybe it’s an OCD thing. Maybe other people don’t care about swimming around in other people’s puke. But, it seems to me, that’s the kind of thing they really should tell people about on their way in, as they’re paying. A little heads-up telling us that pool had just been closed for the past hour while the pool was devomited would have been nice. And how does one devomit a pool, anyway? Is there a protocol for that? I don’t imagine it would be practical to close down a pool and drain it every time a kid vomits into it, but there’s got to be something, right? They didn’t just kick people out while someone’s stomach contents settle to the bottom, do they? Do they immediately nuke the area with chlorine? Do they dive in with buckets and try to scoop it up before it spreads? I’m seriously curious.

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  1. DRich
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    We had to leave a pool once because of a poopy incident.

    Our local rec. center pool has hourly “pool checks” where everyone has to clear out, see if any floaties are left behind. Never thought about vomit, though.

  2. Lucky Bison
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    You would also think that the Benzie County Health Department would mention that swimming in Crystal Lake (SW of Traverse City) would result in you and your soft skinned children being penetrated by flatworms (aka “swimmers itch”).

    Of course, mentioning that anyone dipping their limps in their beautiful lake will have hordes of microscopic worms burrowing in their bodies may hurt the cottage industry.

    At least take comfort in knowing that the puke didn’t result in hundreds of swelling duck fecal feeders on Clementines backside…

    Michigan! Great Lakes! Great…

  3. Posted August 10, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t convey it well, but the scene was weird. We were leaving the pool, all really happy, and then I check my messages, and see that we’d all be floating in puke water. I didn’t curl up into a ball and start sobbing, but it did kind of put a damper on what otherwise was a pretty perfect afternoon.

  4. Posted August 10, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    And poops I think I could deal with. At least solid ones. It’s vomit and diarrhea that I find so insidious.

  5. EOS
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Vomiting is a frequent occurrence in public pools. It is handled the same way as a “formed stool” incident. Evacuate the pool, scoop out as much solid material as possible, raise the chlorine to 2 ppm (parts per million) and wait 30 minutes to allow the disinfectant to kill all the germs. (CDC guidelines)

    However, it’s a much more serious health risk if someone has diarrhea in a pool or even “leaks” small amounts that are not noticeable. Treating diarrhea requires the chlorine level to be raised to 20 ppm for a little more than 12 hours, next – backwash the filter into a sanitary sewer and then wait until the chlorine level drops back to an acceptable range for swimming. If you don’t disinfect diarrhea properly, the pool can cause other swimmers to experience vomiting and diarrhea.

    So everyone – don’t go swimming in a pool if you have recently had diarrhea. If you vomit or get diarrhea after swimming in a pool, please call the pool and let them know.

    Probably more than you wanted to know Mark – but you did say that you were seriously curious. Try not to worry too much. You are much safer in a chlorinated pool than in a small inland lake.

  6. Posted August 10, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Watch out, EOS, a few more clues like these and we’ll be able to figure out who you are.

  7. Posted August 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    And, thanks. I really was curious.

    And sorry to hear about your worms, Mr. Bison.

  8. Posted August 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    They need to send Carl in to disinfect. Maybe it will just turn out to be a Baby Ruth after all.

  9. dragon
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Someone didn’t read the sign:

    We don’t swim in your barf bag,
    please don’t puke in our pool.

  10. Dave
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I was at the county part wave pool during a poop incident. They cleared that section of the pool and some poor lifeguard had to fish out the floaters. Then they took a bottle of chlorine and poured it into the pool while walking circles around the “effected” area. Some time later (30 minutes?) they reopened that section. Seemed a bit weird and we swam in the “clean” sections for the rest of the day. I’m assuming that the whole volume of the pool is circulated through the pumps/filters every hour or so, so it does seem like any incident would be quickly cleaned.

  11. Ypsiman
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 6:23 am | Permalink

  12. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    My daughter puked in Ruthorford pool yesterday. They closed the pool until 6 and raised the Cl level. Apologies to all who were there.

  13. Stephanie
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Nothing to feel bad about, Dan. Those things just happen.

  14. Eric L.
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    My condolences, Mark. I know it was probably a child, but still, the sentiment would be close to the same:

  15. Brackinald Achery
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Watch out, EOS, a few more clues like these and we’ll be able to figure out who you are.

    Pool boy.


  16. Christine M
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    We were at Rutherford pool on Sunday when someone puked. It was on the deck because I saw it (GROSS). It was the second time this summer we’ve had to get out of the pool because someone barfed. Of course, we’ve all had diarrhea since then so I imagine they do need to super clean the pool. We then went out to Independence Lake and swam there for a while before it started to thunder and they kicked us out of the water again. It was a HOT day. We had earlier tried going to Turtle Cove to check it out but it was full to capacity so we left.

    I have a feeling these little kids drink the pool water because they are still learning, then it makes them sick. I try to teach my girls not to drink the water (not on purpose but they don’t know enough to close their mouths). I think with that many people in the pool they should shock it each night because it will keep it cleaner overall.

    It’s a nice pool, we enjoy it, but I do wish the puking would stop. It’s so gross. I also wish they would not close from 5-6 for adult lap swim. We just wanna be able to swim whenever and often it’s hard to get there at just the right time.

  17. EOS
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Do I really need to be fearful that my identity might be disclosed on this blog? What if I invited everyone to a pool party? Or would some come just to poop and barf in the pool? I’ll see if I can set a date next time the homeowners are out of town for a few days and y’all don’t have other plans. lol

  18. Curt Waugh
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Wow Mark. Did everybody have a pool odyssey on Sunday?

    1) Pack up the family and head to Rolling Hills after lunch. Drive by Rutherford and wonder why nobody’s there (now answered).

    2) Arrive at Rolling Hills. Reach gate after 10 minutes in line only to see tiny little sign that says the water park is at capacity. Never seen this before. ( A) Why couldn’t they put the sign further out? B) Why did I buy a season pass for Rolling Hills only to have to wait for all the people who are buying day passes? Is it really that far beyond the capacity of the average high schooler/college student to let pass holders go through?)

    3) Drive to the other side of forever and try Vet’s pool. While daughter #2 and Mom are going potty, daughter #1 and Daddy are putting on sunscreen when suddenly: “The pool is closed for two hours for a bio-hazard.” Yes, they said “bio-hazard”. We didn’t even get wet. So…

    4) Take raincheck and head to Fuller pool. It’s packed and kind of a crappy pool for kids, but dammit we’re finally wet.

  19. Mike
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    No protocol for ejaculate?

  20. Andy
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I was at the Rutherford pool yesterday when some girl vomited in the pool. The pool was closed until around 6.

  21. Dan
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    We went back today, it wasn’t my daughter this time. The pool reopened at 6 just as we got there.

  22. Rutherford Staff
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Please let us help you with your curiosity and concerns.

    At Rutherford Pool (482-4401) we follow the guidelines set down by the Michigan Health Department. Our water gets checked bi-weekly by the Health Department for E. Coli among other things. In the last 8 years we have only had one “cautionary” test. We also test our water for chlorine and ph several times during the day. Chlorine is constantly being pumped into the pool-24hours a day so there is no need to “shock” it at night.

    When we have an incident of “pukage” or “fecal matter” we clear the pool of people and any solids and shock the area. This means that we dump a lot of chlorine into the affected area according to the Health Department. We have had parents/public argue with us that it was only water that came out or “I got it into the gutter”. Anything out of the stomach is counted as a contaminant. If it touches the water-we have to clear the pool-the gutter will only filter the chunks throughout the whole pool.

    We’re sorry your experience was not what you were expecting. We pride ourselves on running a safe, fun and clean family pool. To address the specific concern of our Sunday closings, as you may have realized it was extremely hot and humid which meant everyone wanted to swim. This is a public pool and we are open to anyone who drives by and has the entrance fee and a suit. We had 3 incidents of “pukage” on Sunday, the first was around 1:30 and was in the pool. The second was around 3:30 and completely on the deck. The third at 4:40 was both on the deck and in the pool. We closed for the first and third incidents according to the Health Department guidelines. I’m sorry you were not informed on your way in that the pool had been closed, however you were not “soaking in it”. Christine M, your “diarrhea” most likely did not come from our pool. Since we have had no other complaints.

    Several other likely ways that contaminants can come into the pool is by people walking on the pool deck with their shoes. What is on the bottom of the shoe can be rinsed into the pool. People who do not shower off their sweat with soap and water or who wear underwear under their suits into the pool could introduce contaminants. The pool staff does all that it can to check to see if people have suits and even provide them, too (staff and sometimes patrons volunteer to wash them). Rules are explained to guests as they come in and are enforced by the lifeguards. For several of the incidents the cause has been parents not watching their children letting the kids go underwater when not ready or horse playing with them and they took water in. It is also not advisable to feed your child a large meal before coming swimming as this was the cause of another incident.

    Our hours have been set after many years of surveying the public and seeing what will work best to serve all types of swimmers. The hours are consistent and there is something for everyone.

    Please continue to come-come if you haven’t! This is not anything that does not happen in other pools. Rest assured that rules are being followed. Staff has to get into the pool for lessons, classes, swimming requirements, training and such so we too have a vested interest in keeping it safe and clean. It costs us a lot of money every time we have to shock and close. In addition, staff loses wages and most are straving college students or parents of them!

    Thank you for letting us share info reguarding Rutherford Pool.

  23. Steph's Dad
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    There were 3 “pukages” on Sunday! That’s insane.

  24. Stacey
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I swim at Rutherford practically every day and have every summer for years. Sunday was some crazy kind of puking day, definitely an unusually high number of pukers. I have witnessed the high alert mode during these puking events, and the pool staff deals with them swiftly. I don’t think it makes sense to notify every patron of these events after they occur if the pool is actually closed during the time it’s considered to be a hazard but I’m sure they would tell you if you asked.

  25. Stacey
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Or, you could protect yourself with a burquini:

  26. Ed
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Did you mean a barfkini?

    We could sell them as a Rutherford Pool fundraiser.

  27. Ypsiman
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  28. sitterhitter
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    greeeasy peeasy pee pee is a pubic pool dumb boy.

    ix okay to puke in potty!!! no swim in potty!!! pooties and periods in pubic potty slurp slurp b….b….b…..AAAARF,

    so super silly! Kiss ?Winks~!

  29. Carol
    Posted August 13, 2009 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Can we make kids wear Puke Helmets that would kind of hold it in somehow?

  30. ytown
    Posted August 13, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark, I was next to you at the pool with my kids right before you left. It is funny that the puke was noticed just after you left? Was it my close proximity that caused you to puke? Common sense make you nauseous?

  31. Posted August 16, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink


    You checked the text as you were leaving the pool, but instead of turning around and asking the pool employees about the incident, you came home and wrote disinformation on your well-read blog???? Since you have done it in the past on other topics, I think you owe it to the community and the fine, fine folks who work their asses off to keep this aged gem open and safe to take “Rutherford Staff”s comment and put it into a proper blog post. It came late in the comment stream and many folks may not have seen it and therefore not know how carefully the staff deals with these issues.

  32. Posted August 16, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I’ll read over my original post, Zoe, but I don’t think that I was unfair. I said that we had a great time, and, as we left, I learned that someone had puked. All of that was true. I did wonder what the procedures were for informing people, and for cleaning up messes, and those questions, as you mention, were answered in the comments section. I’m not sure what I could really add in a new post. And it actually seems to me that it could be to the detriment of the pool to do so. Do we really want to let everyone know that the pool was puked in three times in one day? What if I just added an update at the end of that post saying that all procedures were followed correctly, etc?

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