PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “This isn’t usual, is it?”
That’s a classic line from Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “The Birds,” as feathered friends gather.
So maybe it isn’t as bad as this.
But dozens of Pittsburgh geese have decided to make the Sue Murray public swimming pool on the Northside their home.
“Every day we come in and there’s goose poop everywhere,” head lifeguard Julie Wainwright told KDKA’s Jon Delano on Friday. “It’s in the pool. Feathers are in the pool. There’s goose poop on the deck and everything.”
Wainwright has worked the pool for four years, and she says the geese return about this time every year.
“It only comes probably about August, right when our camps actually stop coming. We usually get a big crowd from our camps and once our camps stop coming, we get easy days for maybe two days, and then the geese come, every year, same time,” she said.
That’s when Citiparks employees step into action, every day, scrubbing geese poop off the deck, skimming poop and feathers out of the water, and then — an even worst job — working in the pool with a vacuum cleaner to suck the geese poop off the bottom.
“We make sure we get all the geese poop out before we let any swimmers in or anything like that,” says Wainwright.
And that sometimes means delaying the pool opening beyond its traditional 1 p.m. start.
It’s a pretty disgusting problem.
All this geese poop, and it takes Citiparks workers a couple hours at least to get rid of it all.
But Citiparks officials insist they can chlorinate and clean it up enough to make it swimmable.
During the geese infestation period, the chlorine treatment gets upped and tested every hour.
“We keep it between a one and a five usually, and since I have the geese, I keep it at a 5, the highest we should have it,” notes Wainwright.
That’s not enough for some.
“I would not want my child in that pool after that,” says Chris Russo of the Northside. “Nobody wants to swim with poo.”
Others have no problem once it’s cleaned.
“It has chlorine and cleaners, so it’s not dirty. I mean it doesn’t bother me,” says Leyla Chimka of the Northside, as she waited for the pool to open on Friday.
City officials seem to have no solution to the geese problem which means extra work for employees.
“Every morning,” says Wainwright, “and we clean it every day.”