June 9, 2017
Contact: Mike Litterst
Washington – The National Park Service will drain the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool starting Sunday, June 11 for cleaning and treatment of a water-borne parasite that has affected the local duck population. The pool should be refilled and operational again on Monday, June 19.
Beginning May 20 and 21, approximately 80 ducklings have been found deceased in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Necropsy performed on the ducks by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center suggests the cause of death was high levels of parasites that develop and grow in snails that live in the pool. Chemical treatments alone are not sufficient to fully reduce the parasite and snail population, so the pool must be drained and cleaned.
Humans who come in contact with the parasite could develop “swimmer’s itch” (cercarial dermatitis), an allergic reaction in the form of a skin rash; it is not contagious and rarely requires medical treatment. The risk of contracting it at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is extremely low, as it is only contracted by sustained contact with affected water, such as swimming or wading.
It will take approximately two days for the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to fully drain, and crews will begin cleaning the pool bottom on Tuesday, June 13 utilizing skid steers, pumper and water trucks, and a sprayer. The cleaning should be complete and refilling will begin on Friday, June 16. After the cleaning and treatment are complete, the National Park Service will continue to monitor the water quality of the pool.