Raccoon Poop.... Really Scared!

LaurenB

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2014
94
Shrewsbury, PA
Hello everyone,

Several years ago I found what I assumed to be a raccoon poop in the pool. I skimmed it out and shocked the pool and didn’t really worry about it.

Just now I got in the pool and was walking around vacuuming with a pool blaster (battery operated vacuum with its own filter bag) and I sucked up what I believe to be a raccoon poop. I immediately got out and checked the bag, there was brown mush along with a bunch of undigested seed as well as maggots? Maybe?

I immediately started googling what to do and came across Raccoon Roundworm aka baylisascaris. I read that the eggs aren't killed by chlorine. The CDC recommends taking the poop sample to be tested for baylisascaris. It can be transmitted to humans and is fatal. I already washed out my filter bag so I have no sample to take. The cleaning method if you find raccoon feces in your pool is to drain, wipe down walls and refill and replace filter media.

Can anyone please help me? I am freaking out. I'm afraid I got their eggs on me because I was in the pool and I'm going to contract this illness. Do I really need to drain the entire pool and replace the sand? Am I freaking out over nothing?

Everything I've found regarding humans contracting it is that they have to consume a large quantity of the eggs and its extremely rare. But if its so rare and you have to consume a large quantity of the eggs, why does the CDC recommend such drastic measures for cleaning the pool?

Please someone help!
 

TomGallopavo

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2016
300
Hillbillyville, MO
We have lots of coons. In fact I have a livetrap set up as I write in my strawberry patch.

They have never gone near my pool. They do like my deck.

What makes you think it’s a coon? They usually leave tracks.
 

frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
Did you see this article?

It may not be as dire (or fatal) as you're thinking, but it does seem worth being concerned about. The article is enlightening, I never knew about this. I couldn't find a date on though.

Maybe you can locate some more poop nearby and have that tested? I did see that diagnoses of baylisascaris in humans by way of pool water is extremely rare.
 

frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
While it can't hurt to push FC up to SLAM, the disheartening info about this particular worm's eggs is that studies show that something like 6hr in 6% bleach did NOTHING to it. Another study used 6% bleach to try to get through the outside layer, but the egg still survived fertilized. Kinda scary.

This post colored me interested... I went directly to the research papers.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,225
Tucson, AZ
Here’s what I would consider doing if I were truly worried about -


SeaKlear has a two-part clarifier system that works well with sand filters and is designed to help trap particulates down to the 0.5 micron level. It’s capable of reducing the incidence of contracting cryptosporidium and Giardia which have infectious agents that both are smaller than the roundworm eggs you’re looking at. After using this product as-directed, you could then either deep clean your sand filter OR change the sand media if you really want to. If you did the cycle of clarifier and deep cleaning the filter a few times in a row, the chances of disease transmission should go down. This is not easy work though as you will definitely be putting in a lot of elbow grease to treat the water and then clean out the filter so you have to weigh that against your level of concern.

Chances are, if your finding raccoon scat now, raccoons and other creatures have almost certainly used your pool as their personal toilet bowls before. So I would say that your level of concern is probably a bit over-wrought BUT it’s your pool and your comfort level so you have to do what you think is best.
 
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LaurenB

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2014
94
Shrewsbury, PA
Thank you all for your response!

From everything I’ve read, it seems like raccoon poop in a pool is fairly common. If that’s the case, I would think it would be a lot more common that people are dealing with this.

And, how many people swim in ponds, lakes, rivers, etc? Wouldn’t there be tons of raccoon poop there?
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,197
Bangor Maine
I was always taught when dealing with fecal matter to raise the pool to double the shock levels, maintain for 48 hours and rinse/sterilize filters or long duration backwash. It’s always worked for me.
 

LaurenB

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2014
94
Shrewsbury, PA
The article from the CDC says to decontaminate the pool after raccoon poop is to let it filter for 24 hours, then backwash, then change the filter media if possible. I have sand filter and there is just no way I can change the sand in my filter every single time a raccoon poops in the pool. I mean the recommendations are just ridiculous. Every time someone has a raccoon poop in the pool, they have to either drain the pool completely and refill it, or change the filter media. Isn’t raccoon pooping in pools super common? Are people really changing their sand filter and/or draining their pool every other day or however often a raccoon comes to visit?

I called the CDC and they just emailed me the articles I already found online. As far as having a sample tested for baylisascaris, they said I would have to contact my local health department. So I did, and they had no idea what I was talking about and had never heard of someone testing a raccoon turd they found in their pool.

Can someone who has had this happen to them please let me know what you did? I’m so confused and don’t know whether this is a bit big deal or not even an issue at all.
 

LaurenB

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2014
94
Shrewsbury, PA
I just poured in all the bleach I have when I got home... enough to raise fc to 13. But in the articles, it says the eggs are resistant to 6% bleach. Wouldn’t 6% straight bleach be 60,000ppm?

I called the health dept which had no idea what I was talking about, then called the dept of agriculture which had no idea what I was talking about but said they’d get back to me. I tried calling the pool store (you can imagine my desperation here) and they literally laughed at me and asked if I was a prank caller. FINALLY someone from the wildlife laboratory of Pennsylvania called me back and said they can do the test but I need a 5 gram sample. My sample doesn’t even weigh 1 gram.

I guess my plan now is to let the pool filter for 24 hours and then backwash the filter really good like the cdc recommends. Their website says to change the filter media if possible... so I’m assuming if it’s not possible then oh well?
 

LaurenB

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2014
94
Shrewsbury, PA
Also, to add to the disgusting misery... I’m vacuuming up what appear to be maggots. I’m not sure if they’re coming along with the poop or not. Is that possible? What is wrong with my pool this year?!

These are the best photos I could get. The stool is in a little container and double bagged so I’m sure the photos aren’t clear.
 

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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,225
Tucson, AZ
I honestly think you’re overreacting. If raccoon scat in pools were such a deadly phenomenon, don’t you think you’d see a much higher incidence of this sort of disease?? As one of the links demonstrated, even people that worked daily around raccoons didn’t necessarily contract any deadly illness.

Shock the pool if you must, add the clarifier I linked to and deep clean the sand filter. Then forget about random, 1 in a million illnesses. Honestly, you have more risk of hitting your head and drowning in your pool than you do in contracting a deadly roundworm infection.
 
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LaurenB

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2014
94
Shrewsbury, PA
I honestly think you’re overreacting. If raccoon scat in pools were such a deadly phenomenon, don’t you think you’d see a much higher incidence of this sort of disease?? As one of the links demonstrated, even people that worked daily around raccoons didn’t necessarily contract any deadly illness.

Shock the pool if you must, add the clarifier I linked to and deep clean the sand filter. Then forget about random, 1 in a million illnesses. Honestly, you have more risk of hitting your head and drowning in your pool than you do in contracting a deadly roundworm infection.
I can't find the SeaKlear stuff anywhere in 150 miles from me. To order from Amazon says it wouldn't arrive until Monday. Do you know if there are any there similar chemicals I might be able to find easier?

If I filter the pool at shock level for 24 hours, backwash, and deep clean the sand filter, do you think it will be enough? I'm really tired of going around in circles and feeling like my pool is a biohazard. No pool stores know what I'm talking about, the CDC doesn't know what I'm talking about, no vets or laboratories know what I'm talking about, the dept of agriculture and the dept of health all have no idea what I'm talking about. Apparently I am the only person on the planet who has ever experienced a raccoon pooping in their pool.
 

Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
I agree with Matt -- you're overreacting. You don't even really know if that was coon scat. Could have been Canada goose -- they produce fecal logs that look like some medium size mammal left them.

I would take the lack of interest/knowledge by the various authorities as a good sign. If they aren't familiar with the disease, seems to me that means it's extremely rare, and nothing to be concerned about.
 

Flbeachluvr

Bronze Supporter
Mar 19, 2016
413
Port Orange, FL
I had what I believe was raccoon poop in my pool a few years ago (I posted about it here) and I just raised my chlorine levels to SLAM level for a couple of days with no adverse effect. As others have said, people swim in lakes and streams that likely have all kinds of animal poop in them.