Waterbourne Bacteria in Swimming Pools and Water Parks

It’s finally summer in Chicago and a real one at that! Your accident lawyers at Grazian and Volpe don’t want to put a damper on your summer fun but also want the public to be aware of issues of pool safety. We have written in the past about pool drains and the new pool drain safety laws but a new issue has crossed our path and we hope to make our clients and the public aware of the risks of waterborne bacteria in swimming pools. It brings home the point that not all personal injury due to premises liability is caused by an accident.

Recently, a young client was brought to our office with a diagnosis of a “recreational water illness” (RWI) which is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans.” Our client was a daily patron of a local public swimming pool and had contracted the E. Coli virus resulting in a hospital stay and serious kidney issues.

The public is largely unaware of the extensive state and federal guidelines that apply to the operation of public swimming pools, spas and water parks. Aside from physical plant safety issues (which we have written of in previous articles) a facility which manages or operates a public swimming pool is required to have, on staff, a certified pool operator and to follow standard procedures in checking, maintaining and assuring adequate chlorine and pH levels. The correct balance will help prevent the growth and survival of harmful bacteria in the water. Constant maintenance is required as the number of pool occupants, UV rays and temperature contribute to the survivability of these harmful organisms. Failure to maintain appropriate levels of chlorine and appropriate pH levels expose the public to the risk of harmful bacterias being ingested by swimmers and patrons of the pool or water park.

In our clients case, she was not the only victim as several other swimmers came down with the same illnesses.  We were able to discover that the pool management company had not followed proper procedure which lead to the proliferation of the e. coli bacteria. The pool has since changed their procedures and no further incidents have been noted.

Your Chicagoland injury attorneys at Grazian and Volpe want all to enjoy our short Midwest summer in the safest and most enjoyable way possible. Make yourselves aware of safety issues and when it comes to pools-check out the maintenance procedures followed.

Grazian & Volpe, Part of the Lloyd Miller Law Group