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City TV Tests Dufferin Park Wading Pool

08-Jan-2012 [903]

posted August 23, 2006

On August 23, City TV ran a three-minute item on their six-o'clock news, identifying Dufferin Grove wading pool as having twice the allowable amount of e-coli bacteria in the pool. This was on the basis of a secret test City TV did sometime earlier this week, after the Montreal swimming pool story came out.

The good news is:

  1. they said that the other Toronto outdoor swimming pools and wading pools they tested were fine, not like those in Montreal
  2. they said our wading pool is one of the most popular in the city.

The bad news is:

  1. The solution is a little more complicated than just dumping in a big amount of extra chlorine. People who come to this pool know that the staff chlorinate the pool frequently already. But for at least two reasons, the chlorine doesn't hold very well. One reason is that the pool is so much busier than many others, since it's so well shaded and there's so much else to do at park, that's fun. Lots of bodies use up the chlorine faster. The second reason is that organic matter like sand gobbles up the chlorine really fast. Our huge sand pit is even more popular than the wading pool, and it's only ten metres away.

#There are some real health concerns about the effects of higher levels of chlorine exposure on humans.

But there' s more good news.

  1. We can use science. We can do more e-coli testing, to follow up. One single sample is not a good indicator.
    (In 2003, there was a big arsenic scare about pressure-treated wood in playgrounds. The playground sand at Dufferin Grove Park was supposed to have the second-highest arsenic readings in the whole city. That scare was also on the basis of one external test. The City re-tested with four samples, and the park friends paid for an additional six samples at a lab. It turned out the arsenic levels in our playground sand are lower than what occurs naturally in soil. End of scare.)
    So we'll ask the city to test for e-coli twice a day for the next week. We need to know more than we know now.
  1. We can have an on-going informed discussion poolside, about
    • e-coli versus chlorine
    • versus no wading pools anymore
    • versus the possible long-term protection of naturally produced immunity when children have low-level exposure to bacteria
    • versus other considerations

Public discussion at the playground! There are bound to be some good ideas, worked out poolside during the remaining two weeks of summer. See you at the park, with or without water in the wading pool.

Dufferin Park Wading Pool...
Dufferin Park Wading Pool