‘Dirty’ water at Beach Park Pool drives questions at Trumbull parents
In a scene reminiscent of the classic Bushwood Country Club's swimming pool in Caddyshack, Trumbull swimmers have made their own shocking discovery while enjoying the waters of Beach Park Pool.
Unfortunately, in this situation it’s not a Baby Ruth candy bar — it’s the real deal. And residents are rightfully upset because it’s cutting into their summer relaxation.
“It’s happened over the years, on a fairly regular occurrence, due to a small number of less-than diligent parents who need to keep their young ones in proper swimwear,” explained Town Council member Michael London, who said that Beach Pool has been closed at least once this summer due to “fecal matter in the pool.”
“It tends to occur because of diaper leaks,” he added. “And these parents need to know it can be prevented. There are a variety of products on the market that prevent leakage.”
One of those products — “swimmies,” as London calls them — are available to purchase at Beach Park Pool, according to Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy.
That makes the closing of the pool on June 25, for the pool’s filtration cycle to clean out the “dirty” water, all that more infuriating.
“Swim diapers are available for sale and we put signs at the end of last season reminding parents to make sure their young ones are in swimmies when they enter the pool area,” McCarthy said.
Obviously, somebody ignored those signs; however, McCarthy said that since the pool opened over Memorial Day weekend, the pool has been closed just once for an accident.
“It was the first and only incident and that means the safety measures we put in are producing good results,” he explained. “We’re making regular announcements during the day to encourage parents to bring their kids to the bathroom; we’re enforcing strict adult swim time that gets the kids out of the pool and hopefully gives them time to address that need; and we’ve put signs out to parents to check and make sure their children have the right swimwear on.”
The move seems to fit what London suggested last Thursday, June 30, when he spoke to the Times. Yet, leakage into the pool persists.
“It’s not unusual to have a situation where fecal matter is in the pool,” explained McCarthy. “When a child defecates in the pool we have to close it for a full cycle — that’s the law and every public pool has to follow it.
“It’s not ideal,” he added. “But we’ve had a lot less incidents this year than we had last season.”
London called for one extra preventative step. He believes it should be the lifeguards’ duty to check for “swimmies” on toddlers when checking identification badges at the pool’s entrance.
The council member and his wife are admittedly users of Tashua Pool, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hear the community’s frustration.
“It has becomes an issue this year like it has every other year we’ve been here,” said the Trumbull resident of 25-plus years. “Parents tend to take their small kids to Beaches because of the slope of the pool. It’s very shallow and they don’t have to worry about their safety as much.”
Safety for young swimmers shouldn’t be any less value, London said; however, it shouldn’t ruin the swimming of an entire community.
“It’s an inconvenience for everyone who uses the pool,” the council member added. “To close a pool on a hot summer day defeats the purpose of having one.”
Similar to McCarthy, London stressed that the onus should fall just as much on the parents as it should on the lifeguards.
“Parents of Trumbull: please pay attention,” he pleaded. “Make sure kids have the proper swimwear, especially if your toddler is untrained.”
London said residents should still call the recreation department to voice their displeasure when accidents occur.
He stressed that McCarthy was doing a great job at handling the problem, but that the policy needed to be continually monitored.
For his part, McCarthy said Trumbull swimmers have nothing to fear going forward.
“Lifeguards are reminding the swimmers and the parents and we do have the signs in place,” he said. “Everyone’s trying the best they can to prevent us from having to close the pool.”