Recreational Water (Pools & Spas)

Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Swimmer’s Ear. Are these Star Trek-like characters from other planets?

No, these are all illnesses that can be acquired from use of swimming pools, spas, lakes or other recreational waters.

Spas can be the biggest problem for recreational water acquired illnesses due to the increased temperature of the water and high usage. These create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens. Proper maintenance of chemicals as well as frequent flushing and filtration of the water can significantly reduce or eliminate the occurrence of these diseases. Controlling the occurrence of these illnesses in Summit County can be more of a challenge due to the high usage of spas and higher seasonal usage demands.

The Environmental Health Department is responsible for overseeing that public and semi-public pools and spas are operated in a healthy way that prevents the spread of such diseases, in accordance with the Colorado Pool & Spa Regulations. Although staffing levels do not permit the regular inspection of such facilities, staff will investigate complaints received by the public. Such investigations focus on determining:

  • Whether the pool or spa was the cause of the illness
  • The operational gap that caused the illness (i.e. lack of disinfectant)
  • Capacity of the operator for maintaining the facility and 
  • Proper record keeping.