CDC: Ohio Water Park Employees Got Sick Because Patrons Peed in the Pool


  • Noted pool peer Michael Phelps, Wikipedia
If you're not reading the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report — and boy, are you missing out on some joyful reading if you're not — you probably missed the organization's dispatch on a urine-plagued indoor waterpark in Ohio. (They don't name the park or the city it's in, so feel free to hazard a guess.)

According to the CDC's report and investigation, employees who complained of vomiting, burning eyes and irritated noses were dealing with the after-effects of patrons peeing in the park's pools. You see, tons of people let loose in the water, of course — scientists estimated last year that there are two gallons of urine in an average residential pool, which is about 1/100 of a percent of the total liquid. "I think you can assume that if people are using your pool, they're peeing in it," Ernest Blatchley III, an environmental engineer at Purdue University, told NPR, reinforcing the point.

There's also sweat, skin cells and assorted lotions added to the cocktail as you, who is most definitely not the one peeing, or that stranger over there, who most hopefully isn't peeing either but probably is, splash around. Combine that with chlorine and you get chemical chloramines. Once released into the air by Tubby doing a canonball over there, those chemicals can cause irritation, which is what the CDC found in this case.

This specific waterpark, in addition to suffering from a piss problem, wasn't adequately ventilated, which meant the chloramines built up, causing the assorted ailments reported by employees. The ventilation has been fixed, the CDC reports. The peeing problem? Probably not.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.