Cedar Rapids pool temporarily closes as a precaution because of parasite

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- The Cherry Hill Aquatics Center in Cedar Rapids voluntarily closed to swimmers on a temporary basis on Monday.

It happened because a person who recently swam there reported having cryptosporidium, also referred to as crypto. Crypto is a parasite that causes diarrhea.

It is not clear if the person contracted the parasite from swimming at Cherry Hill. As a precaution, the pool was closed to be super-chlorinated.

The super-chlorination process can take 18 hours to ensure the parasite or disease is killed.

“We’ve got to have enough time to bring the chlorine up to inactivate that crypto and then it’s time to bring back down, make it in our safe levels and then we’re all ready to go,” Carolyn Hamilton, the Aquatics Director for the City of Cedar Rapids, said.

They raised chlorine levels from five parts per million, which kills of most diseases, to 30 parts per million.

The Center for Disease control says crypto is the most common outbreak in pools.

“Out of thousands and thousands of people in our pool, to have one person say, ‘Oh I have crypto,’ we still want to make sure we are safeguarding everyone who swims,” Hamilton said.

Erin Evan-Swartz was planning to take her family to Cherry Hill on Monday to swim, but after the closure, they went to the Noelridge Aquatic Center.

She said she often considers pools and their cleanliness but she trusts the city takes the right steps to keep swimmers safe.

“Then I see how Cedar Rapids address it and closes and cleans up pool if they’re not safe and clean and I trust that they’re keeping track of that,” Evan-Swartz said.

Hamilton says to avoid contracting crypto or passing it to others, it’s best not to swim within two weeks of having diarrhea.

She also said the only way to contract crypto is through swallowing the infected pool water.

The Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department expects to reopen the Cherry Hill Aquatics center Tuesday morning.