Controls: show



[log in] or [register] to leave a comment for this document.

Go to: all documents

Options: show



[home] [about] [help] [policies] [legal disclaimer]


[profiles] [forum]


Wading Pool Safety Update

09-Jan-2012 [904]

posted August 27, 2006

More questions than answers

Recreation director Don Boyle speaking to park staff...
Recreation director Don Boyle speaking to park staff

The day after City TV reported that the Dufferin Grove Park wading pool had twice the allowable level of e-coli [ed. see City TV Tests Dufferin Park Wading Pool], recreation director Don Boyle came to the park. City TV filmed him talking to the pool staff. What he was saying is that they must keep the wading pool at a higher level of chlorination than before. He said the city will not do repeat tests because at that higher level of chlorine, all the bacteria will be killed for sure. (Note: City TV's test was done as the wading pool was being cleared for the staff to add more chlorine -- already mixed up and ready to pour).

When we talked to the lab supervisor at Gelda Scientific (the lab that did the City TV tests), he was very unhappy. He said that he had tried to explain to City TV that the e-coli test was not the only factor in pool safety. Chlorine is a poison, he said, and it hurts humans as well as bacteria. But the effects take longer to show up. In twenty years, he said, "people who put chlorine in pools will be sent to jail!" He also said that more and more microbiologists feel that a certain level of human exposure to bacteria is very helpful to children especially.

The City public health staff don't agree. They would like Parks and Recreation to change to a higher standard of chlorine than what they are now using. Don Boyle says that his division's aquatic committee will consider this question in the winter. It may be that some parents of children who use wading pools and swimming pools may form an aquatic committee to study the question, and also seek citizen representation on Don Boyle's committee. To find out more: contact

Public health inspector waiting on a bench
until City TV lea...
Public health inspector waiting on a bench
until City TV leaves (last Thursday),
so she can talk to staff without the media there.

Meanwhile, Montreal's bacterial re-testing of its swimming pools is not quite complete, but of the 63 whose results are in, only 4 failed the tests, so the rest have been cleaned up successfully already and will be reopened. The lab that did the original tests also warned that one-third of the pools had too high levels of chlorine, and said this could cause respiratory problems as well as skin ailments.

Nothing is simple! The Dufferin Grove Park wading pool staff will do extra chlorine monitoring during this last week of the wading pool, and will share this information with pool users who are interested. They will also be seeking information from parents: did your child get diarrhea after using the pool this summer? And this week, with the higher levels of chlorine, %strong%is your child having any noticeable chlorine reactions%%? The best approach to this bacteria-versus-chlorine conundrum is good documentation. Park lead staff Mayssan Shuja has a degree in biology and park part-time staff Jenny Cook is finishing her Masters in environmental studies. So they can help too.