Cryptosporidium has caused the majority of waterborne disease outbreaks in treated recreational water venues in the USA for many years running. This research project evaluated some common US swimming pool filters for removing Cryptosporidium oocysts, 5-µm diameter polystyrene microspheres, and 1-µm diameter polystyrene microspheres. A 946 L hot tub with interchangeable sand, cartridge, and precoat filters was used at room temperature for this research. Simulated pool water for each experiment was created from Charlotte, NC (USA) tap water supplemented with alkalinity, hardness, chlorine, and a mixture of artificial sweat and urine. Precoat (i.e., diatomaceous earth and perlite) filters demonstrated pathogen removal efficiencies of 2.3 to 4.4 log (or 99.4–99.996%). However, sand and cartridge filters had average Cryptosporidium removals of 0.19 log (36%) or less. The combined low filter removal efficiencies of sand and cartridge filters along with the chlorine-resistant properties of Cryptosporidium oocysts could indicate a regulatory gap warranting further attention and having significant implications on the protection of public health in recreational water facilities. The 5-µm microspheres were a good surrogate for Cryptosporidium oocysts in this study and hold promise for use in future research projects, field trials, and/or product testing on swimming pool filters.

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