There has been a lot of discussions about water quality in swimming pools lately especially in regards to Cryptosporidium (Crypto) in pool water. Cryptosporidium is the most common waterborne disease when it comes to swimming pools and we want to discuss how pools get infected, what the signs and symptoms are and the best way to remove it. Depending on what state you live in, regulations on how to deal with this waterborne disease are different. Some states will require a complete drain and refill where others will suggest hyperchlorination. Please keep in mind that the normal amounts of chlorine that you keep in your pool will not kill Cryptosporidium.

What is Crypto?

According to the CDC, “Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as “Crypto.” There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect animals, some of which also infect humans. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection. While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States.”

What are the signs and symptoms of Crypto?

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

If you frequent public swimming pools we highly recommend being aware of these symptoms. As we stated above, just because the swimming pool has chlorine doesn’t mean it is safe from this waterborne disease. Typically, swimming pools are affected with this waterborne disease when someone defecates in the pool. Please be aware that the symptoms usually last about 1 to 2 weeks (with a range of a few days to 4 or more weeks) in persons with healthy immune systems.

How do you treat Crypto?

First and foremost, don’t swim if you are sick and have diarrhea. Most people that are healthy won’t need any type of treatment other than drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. For those that have weekend immune systems might need an anti-diarrhea medicine if it doesn’t stop.

How do you remove Cryptosporidium from pool water?

If Crypto is present in the swimming pool there are three ways to remove it…..

  1. Drain and refill
  2. Reverse Osmosis filtration
  3. Hyperchlorination

Removal of the waterborne disease can occur by draining the water. Please be mindful that a drain of a swimming pool can be dangerous and can’t be done all the time. If temperatures are above 8o degrees it can compromise the interior finish and depending on the size of the swimming pool this could take several days to a week or longer. Using Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration is the best solution because RO can filter our Crypto and you don’t need to drain the swimming pool. In fact, this type of treatment will conserve up to 85% of the existing water in the pool and will take less time than a typical drain and refill.

As for hyperchlorination, we discuss this because it is listed as a treatment but we want to warn everyone that chlorine will not prevent Crypto from being present in a swimming pool. In fact, the amount of chlorine needed to kill the parasite is extremely high and not guaranteed. 

Remember, if you frequent public swimming pools, please shower before you enter the pool and don’t swim in your sick. If you should have any questions about how to remove cryptosporidium in pool water or how our RO Mobile Filtration system can help you, contact us today!