If you went to Montclair’s Mountainside swimming pool yesterday in the late afternoon, like my daughter and I did, you were greeted with this sign:
That’s right: there was poo in the pool. “It happened twice in a little over a week. I feel like someone is playing a bad joke on me,” says Michele Cammarata, the aquatics director for Montclair’s recreation department.
While the township recommends swim diapers for babies, you can’t blame this on the kiddies. Cammarata says both events took place in the lap lanes of the main pool. “I can understand it happens occasionally in the baby pool, but this?” she says, exasperated.
When such incidents happen, the lifeguards close the pool for three hours to remove the fecal matter, super chlorinate, and let the filters do their job. Then they test the water to make sure it’s clean, and that the chlorine levels have come down enough to be safe for swimmers.
“This is a serious thing. We know you can get sick from swimming in a dirty pool,” says Cammarata. For those asking why the town couldn’t keep the baby pool open and only close the big pool, she explains that they both share the same filtration system.
Cammarata says the lifeguards, who not only have to clean up the mess, but also lose wages when the pool closes early, are keeping their fingers crossed there are no more “incidents” between now and when the pool closes on Sept. 3rd.