No one ever imagined a recreational dip in the swimming pool could lead to infecting you with a virus. With the advent of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there have been many discussions on whether it is safe to use the swimming facility or keep it vacant.
Experts suggest that though the virus can play havoc by staying on surfaces for up to 24 hours, there is no sufficient evidence to prove that it could sustain for that long in the water. Simply swimming in the pool may not contribute to you catching the virus, but you may get it through violating the social distancing norms. Leisure swimming tends to get the swimmers rather excited and often they forget to keep distance from other swimmers.
Crowds put people at risk and sharing enclosed facilities like changing rooms exposes the swimming enthusiasts to viruses, increasing the likelihood of contracting the disease. Also touching common swim equipment like floats, balls or goggles further add to making the place unsafe.
Re-opening Swimming Pools While Ensuring Safety
Many bathing facilities are slowly seeking permission from authorities to get back in action. These include common residential swimming pool within gated communities, pools at clubs & gyms, and those at the water parks.
Pool managers can talk to their local officials to check what safety and hygiene standards need to be adhered to for re-opening the aquatic venues in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The health officials need to sign-off and declare your premise safe to operate before you start to open the doors.
Maintaining Hygiene at the Swimming Facility
Irrespective of a virus being present or not, the pool facility must be kept sparkling clean making it suitable for use. Preventive maintenance of your swimming pool will increase the life expectancy of the pool and avoid you from incurring high expenses on repairs and breakdowns.
Pool maintenance includes the following:
Check the chemical balance of the pool: The pH level of the pool must be checked regularly. There are test strips available in the market to help you monitor the levels of chemicals in the water. The ideal pH level must be kept between 7.2 to 7.8 for a safe swimming experience. The higher the pH level in the pool, the more scum it generates and deposits it on the sides of the pool walls. Therefore, keeping the pH levels within the limits is necessary. The chemistry levels should be checked as often as twice a week. Adding the right amount of chlorine to the pool water will disinfect the contents and kill germs and viruses. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pool disinfectants are likely tokill the coronavirus and make the water safe for use.
Skimming the pool: Skimming the surface of the pool is done to remove any leaves, debris, insects, and pollen found floating on the water. The skimmer also makes sure that the pump and filter function optimally as the water that flows through it has already passed through the primary filtration process. You can skim the pool as often as possible, if not, we recommend doing it at least once a week. In times of COVID-19, additional care must be taken to skim the pool at-least thrice a day to avoid unnecessary hygiene concerns.
Examine the Ozone Generator: The ozone generator provides another level of protection to the pools. This system generates a blue-color gas made of three oxygen atoms. Its function is to kill the harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the water by oxidizing it. It can be embedded within the pool circulatory system so that the water circulated is automatically sanitized and stays unadulterated at all times. Unlike chlorine it does not leave any residue, so the water looks absolutely spotless ready for a dive. Considering the current COID-19 situation, having an ozone generator is of great importance. It will keep the waters sanitized with an extra level of protection.
Ensuring That the Pool Filter is Clean: A pool filter not only keeps insects, hair, and sediments at bay but also filters out bacteria & other minute substances. It ensures that the chemical is distributed through the pool equally so that all areas of the pool remain fresh and clean. It is necessary to keep the filter clean, so that the filter doesn’t clog and drive back the unwanted matter back to the surface of the water. There are two processes by which the pool filter can be cleaned namely; backwash and manual cleaning. Backwash is nothing but running the pump filter in reverse motion to remove clogged stuff. For manual cleaning, you will first need to remove the cartridge from the filter and then wash it thoroughly with the help of a spray nozzle. To keep the pools extremely safe during these uncertain times, you may want to clean the filter every two weeks or as frequently as possible.
Staffing and scheduling: If the community pool has received a go-ahead from the health authorities, the facility has to make proper provisions for staffing. The venue might need more staff positioned at frequent intervals to keep a check on the activity of the public. They need to ensure that people follow all guidelines and read the instructions carefully and abide by it. People must be allowed in the pool in batches and maintain social distancing even while they are swimming. The locker facility, shower area and, lobby must be kept sanitized at all times and swimmers must be advised to have minimal contact on surfaces and of course, wear proper face masks. If there are kids entering the pool, special precautions must be taken and they must be constantly supervised by an adult.
We have seen how proper precautionary measure scan still make swimming an enjoyable experience in times of the COVID hour. The main points to remember are to keep the pool sanitized, maintain social distancing, and follow the rules laid down by the health authorities.