Spouse Debate:Lake/pool swimming (potentially dumb question)

slawton

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Jun 14, 2009
68
Muskegon, Michigan
Three questions actually:

1. If your kid goes to a lake and swims (say Lake Michigan) and then comes home and jumps in your pool without washing their suit or taking shower, can the algae from the lake infect your pool with algae? (Potentially dumb question, we know...)


2. If one can safely swim in a lake, and the lake contains algae, why is it unsafe to swim in your pool when the level of CC's is higher than .5 (I believe that is the number I read here somewhere)? Just thinking about it, I would imagine a lake's level of CC's is much higher than .5, or is that completely incorrect? (potentially dumb questions number 2 and 3!! :hammer:
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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1. Algae spores are everywhere. It doesn't matter if they come from a Lake or are airborne, if they get in your pool and the FC is inadequate, they will thrive.

2. It is not neccesarily unsafe to swim in a pool with .5cc (or more). It indicates the presence of organic material and the likely need to shock....nothing more.

Algae in itself is not "poisonous" or will make you sick. However, the presence of algae indicates there is inadequate sanitation in the pool to protect your from the transmission of disease coming from bacteria, etc.
 

zea3

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Jul 10, 2009
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Houston, Texas
Algae in a naturally occuring body of water is part of the food chain. Microscopic organisms and fish feed on it. Most naturally occuring bodies of water have a source and a flow, thus they are not stagnant and there is an exchange of water that takes place over time. There will not be any CCs in the naturally occuring body of water since they are not chlorinated. Naturally occuring bodies of water are full of organics that are eating each other as is their function in the natural world. That usually is enough to keep the water safe for human activity.

Our artificial bodies of water have a source and flow provided by artificial means (tap/well and pump). Since we do not usually have fish in our pools, we do not need algae to feed them, nor do we need the other organisms that feed on algae. That is why we have the pool chemicals and filters so we do not accumulate organisms that would make the water unsafe for human activity. Plus there is the aesthetic quality of swimming in a clear, sparkling oasis as opposed to a murky, scummy hole.

Would I swim in a lake, river, or ocean? Yes! Would I swim in a stagnant pond? No!
 

AnnaK

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Jul 15, 2007
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There are several algal varieties which are toxic to humans. Blue-green algae (technically cyanobacter) can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems and there have been reports of dogs dieing from drinking infected lake water. The likelihood of anyone swimming in a lake which has a blue-green algae bloom is slim though. It looks toxic and smells nasty.

Algae can also be indirectly toxic to humans when we eat shellfish which has been exposed to a toxic algal bloom. Shellfish, especially mussels, concentrate the toxins in their bodies. Hence, we're told not to eat oysters and mussels in months which don't have the letter -r- in them—summer months, when the waters are warmer and algae blooms happen.

Do a Google search on "toxic algae" and "red tide".

Yes, we can contaminate our pools with algae and bacteria from rivers and lakes but, as has already been stated, properly sanitized water will soon kill those invaders. However, you may bring in mustard algae which, as we know, requires much higher levels of FC to kill, higher than what we normally keep our pools at. It's safer to shower and wash suits and towels with bleach before getting in your own pool.
 

slawton

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 14, 2009
68
Muskegon, Michigan
Thanks to all for the interesting and most informative posts. I am pleased to learn this--it really helps to understand the concept of maintaining a clean pool.

Very cool.