Today is the last day for the public to comment on proposed rules for pool use in Utah.
After what some would call a rip-roaring outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, which was mostly transmitted by fecal matter in swimming pools, during the summer of 2007, new rules for pool use may take effect May 22.
Written comments must be received by either the Utah Department of Health or the Utah Division of Administrative Rules by 5 p.m. today.
There were nearly 2,000 documented cases of cryptosporidiosis during 2007. Normally, only a handful of cases are documented.
The new rules establish protocols for pool operators to handle a fecal accident.
The new rules also set up Crypto Watch and Crypto Warning notices and include ways people can keep themselves from spreading the parasite-caused gastrointestinal disease.
They can be found at www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/bull_pdf/2008/b20080415.pdf and include the following:
• People who have had diarrhea within the past two weeks from an unknown source may not enter a public pool.
• Children under 3, children who are not toilet trained, or anyone who lacks control of defecation must wear a swim diaper and properly fitting water-resistant swimwear.
• Diapers may not be changed poolside.
• Local health officers or the executive director of the Utah Health Department may instate a Crypto Watch (if the disease is likely to occur) or Crypto Warning (if crypto cases are reported).
• Various other rules for decontaminating a pool.
Unfortunately, says Davis County Health Department director Lewis Garrett, some of those rules are unenforceable.
It would be impossible to make sure that everyone takes a shower before entering a pool or that a parent washes his hands after changing a diaper or that someone who recently had diarrhea doesn't go swimming.
And diapers may not be effective at keeping fecal mater in, he said.
But public pools around the state have taken steps to make sure they can get their water clean in the event of a crypto outbreak.
Many have begun installing ultraviolet light filters that kill the hard-shelled crypto cysts, though a pool may have to close for 12 to 16 hours before cysts are eliminated.
In Davis County, Cherry Hill, Layton Surf 'n' Swim, Clearfield Aquatic Center, South Davis Recreation Center and Oakridge Country Club have installed ultraviolet light filters that kill hard-shelled crypto cysts.
Lagoon plans to superchlorinate its pools this summer by raising chlorine levels high enough to kill the parasite. The park will install ultraviolet light filters for the 2009 season, said Louis Cooper, deputy director of the county's Environmental Services Division.
In Utah County, the Springville Community Pool, the Provo Recreation Center and Veterans Memorial Park have the systems.