What to do with animal (and other) droppings in your pool

We’ve all seen it before and it’s a sad fact that we have to accept that there will always be “accidents” in our pool. If you think seeing algae blooms in your pool is scary, wait till you see something floating by that’s meant to stay in the bathroom! This is a quick and easy guide on how to deal with these pool “accidents” so that you can get back to enjoying your pool in no time.

Get everyone out of the pool ASAP

The first and most important thing that we should do once we spot animal or human droppings in our pool is to immediately get everyone out of the pool and turn off your pool pump. This is so that we don’t disturb or agitate the offending particles. And of course, you want everyone out of the pool because we really don't want anyone accidentally drinking contaminated pool water right?

Why do I need to shut off the pump?

If you’re wondering why we need to shut off the pool pump while we’re scooping out the waste from the pool, the answer is actually quite simple. We don’t want the poop to be sucked into the plumbing, smearing itself on the pipes and clinging on to them in the dark recesses of the pool. If it reaches your pool pump, you don’t want it to be liquefied and blown back into your pool as microscopic particles, making it even harder to clean!

Manually Remove the offending particles

Sold out

The key to successfully removing droppings from your swimming pool is to be really, really, careful. We can’t stress this enough. We need to prevent the waste from breaking apart and dissolving in our pools which makes it even tougher to remove.

We’ll need a large bucket or a leaf skimmer to slowly remove the poop from your pool. Dispose of the offending material in a sanitary way. Once we’ve totally removed every bit of waste, shock your pool with triple the amount that you usually shock your pool with. After adding the pool shock, allow your pool pump to run for at least 24 hours and keep everyone out of the pool while this is ongoing.

P.S. NEVER attempt to remove fecal matter by vacuuming it out, it will just make the problem worse!

Help! It’s Diarrhea!

Poop is poop! The main difference is that you’ll have a harder time scooping everything out with a bucket. On top of that, diarrhea has a higher chance of containing more bacteria than formed waste.

But isn’t chlorine supposed to take care of it?

Yes, chlorine can take care of poop in your pool, but it’s going to take a while. Remember, your regular chlorine doses are there to take care of regular pool circumstances, and there’s nothing regular about poop in your pool right? Shocking your pool will ensure that every bit of your pool is properly sanitised!

I have a salt water chlorinator, do I need to shock my pool?

Yes, definitely. Again, treat poop in your pool as a concentrated ball (or bucket) of bacteria. You will definitely need a lot of chlorine to fully disinfect your pool.

What’s the big deal about poop anyway?

Fecal matter, no matter what the source, will almost 100% contain bacteria, the only question is how much bacteria is contained within the contaminant. To be on the safe side, treat every contamination as if you’re treating something that is super saturated with E Coli, Hepatitis A, Giardia and Crypto (the most common culprits).

I’ve shocked the pool, now what?

Once you’ve shocked the pool and are confident that all traces of fecal matter have been eliminated. Thoroughly clean your cartridge filter with some zodiac filter cleaning solution or depending on the degree of contamination, replace it completely. If you have a sand filter, give it a thorough backwash to ensure that any fecal matter caught by the sand filter elements are completely flushed out.

Final Checks

After everything has been said and done, check and balance all of your pool chemical levels (especially pH and free chlorine) as the massive shocking will more than not mess with your pool chemical levels.

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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