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Serial defecator causes weekly closures of Southland Aquatic Centre
A mystery defecator, or defecators, has caused the closure of pools at the Southland Aquatic Centre/ Splash Palace at Invercargill on New Zealand’s South Island on the last six Fridays.
Gaining notoriety as the ‘phantom pooper’ or ‘brown bomber’, someone has defecated in pools at the facility on consecutive Fridays.
Invercargill City Council Aquatic Services Manager Pete Thompson says the defecator’s acts have cost the pool “tens of thousands of dollars” in lost revenue.
Each time faecal matter is found floating in the water at Splash Palace, the pool has to be drained and closed for cleaning, a process taking about six hours.
Thompson told local newspaper The Southland Times “it generally happens after 5pm each Friday night.”
Last week (20th March), a "smidgen" of faeces was discovered in the Splash Palace’s leisure pool at about 4.30pm.
Thompson said swimmers had been removed from the pool and extra chlorine had been added to the water but he believed this incident to be "an unfortunate coincidence".
He added “the mode is dissimilar to anything else we have had.
“It was a very tiny 10 cent piece-size which suggests it probably came out of a baby's togs.”
A second faeces was discovered later in the facility’s learners pool after it had closed.
Thompson said if the offender was caught, Council could recover costs if it could prove the action was deliberate.
However, he cautioned “how do you prove something is deliberate unless you catch them in the act?
"I hope whoever this person is, if it's deliberate, ceases to behave in this manner. It's disgusting.
"If it's accidental I hope their parents educate them and hopefully we don't see this happen again."
The pool complex had cameras, he confirmed, “but not high-definition enough to pick up the red face of someone squinting”.
To deter possible culprits, signs (pictured above) have been erected warning people not to swim if they have upset stomachs, and advising parents to check their children while this Friday staff at the Splash Palace are expected to be vigilant in looking to catch the possible culprit.
Friday 20th March also saw swimmers evacuated from the Moana Pool in Dunedin after another faecal incident, leaving New Zealand aquatic managers to wonder if some form of copycat campaign is now underway.
Splash Palace photographs used for illustrative purposes only.
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