Pool water safety and hygiene has always been a top priority for aquatic facilities, even more so during the second summer of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Fluidra we analyzed how pool water affects COVID-19 and share 6 tips to ensure the safety of users during the pandemic.
All studies, including one published by the prestigious MIT Medical, team, report that there is no evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be spread through water (including swimming pool water).
Although more data on how chlorine acts against this virus is needed, it has been found that chlorine effectively deactivates viruses similar to the one that causes COVID-19.
Most experts thus agree that hygiene and maintenance protocols that commonly include chemicals like chlorine and bromine make waterborne infection virtually impossible.
So, to reassure users and create the safest spaces possible, there are at least 6 measures that can be taken regarding swimming pool water during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Chlorine disinfection
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a residual chlorine concentration of ≥0.5 mg/l in pool water for a minimum of 30 minutes of contact with a pH <8.0 is sufficient to kill enveloped viruses such as coronaviruses.
In other words, with a free chlorine level of ≥0.5-1 mg/l, the water is not only properly disinfected, but also has the disinfectant potential to kill any viruses or germs.
Liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets are recommended to disinfect pool water in residential and semi-public pools. Using salt systems is also recommended; these automatically generate chlorine using a process called electrolysis.
2. Ultraviolet light
Ultraviolet light can broaden the disinfection spectrum in swimming pool water, even more so if used in combination with dosed chlorine or saline chlorination. UV light disinfection has been proven to broaden the spectrum of efficacy when it comes to eliminating viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2.
Automating pool water treatment is recommended. Automation prevents human error while enhancing productivity, since employees can spend that time on other tasks, which in turn saves money.
4. Measure parameters
Another crucial safety tip includes regularly measuring the main water parameters, including pH and chlorine levels (DPD-1).
The right pH level to guarantee effective disinfection varies between 7.2 and 7.6 using acids or CO2.
There are two further recommendations that companies can take into account: to consider the automatic measurement of parameters using technologies designed for that purpose; and to share the conclusions with users, so that they are fully informed of pool water quality.
5. Limit the use of shared spaces
Beyond measures that can be taken to ensure safe pool water, limits on the use of shared spaces in aquatic facilities will be key to curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Several basic measures include:
- Limit the number of people in the water, changing rooms, bathrooms and any enclosed space.
- Control employee access, avoiding crowding in small, enclosed spaces.
- Stagger group activities (for example, swimming lessons) to allow for the recommended social distance of more than 2 meters.
- Create separate entrances and exits to the facilities.
6. Tips for users
Finally, it is essential to remind users of the protective measures they can take against COVID-19: keep a safe distance from others by avoiding crowded spaces, wear masks when out of the water and perform proper hand hygiene.
In any event, communicating the scientific evidence on the safety of swimming pool water in terms of COVID-19 is vital. Following the tips in this article and the safety measures that apply outside aquatic facilities will make public swimming pools a safe recreational option for this summer.
To learn more about pool water safety and how to ensure it, download our white paper, ‘A Properly Treated Swimming Pool is a Safe Place’’.