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Contamination shuts down Mitchell pool again

The Mitchell Aquatic Center closed all day Monday after fecal contamination was discovered during morning swimming lessons, said Jamie Henkel, a city recreation coordinator.

"This one was actually -- how do I put this -- a child who should have known better," Henkel said.

The entire pool was closed after 4:30 p.m. one day earlier this month because of a child with diarrhea.

Monday's contamination occurred during an 11:30 a.m. swim lesson with children 5 years and older.

To cleanse the pool, liquid chlorine is added, raising chlorine levels. The pool can reopen 12-18 hours later, when chlorine levels have fallen to a safe swimming level.

The pool's chlorine levels are checked five times a day to make sure it is at a safe level.

Staff used skimmer nets Monday, along with chlorine, to clean the pool. Afterward, the pool was backwashed, as dirty water was vacuumed out and clean water entered the pool.

Swim lessons resumed Tuesday morning.

"With the chlorine levels so high, it should kill anything," Henkel said.

If the contamination is found before it becomes "loose," as Henkel described it, only a section of the pool is closed while the contamination is removed and the area is cleaned. When the contamination is loose or broken up, then the pool is closed for the day.

This year's two instances of loose contamination are the first ones Henkel can recall.

Swim lessons will not have to be made up because of additional days planned into the schedule for weather closings, Henkel said.

Henkel said she emails parents about closings. Pool closure announcements are also distributed to local media.