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COVID-19 Pool Water Transmission & Pool Service Lockdown?

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A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019. COVID-19 Pool Water transmission.

COVID-19 Pool Water photo credit Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

It’s tough to figure out where to start on this one because no one knows what’s going on 100%. New information is added daily, and people make ? up. Besides sorting through the news blasts each day, we have to weed out the Tomfuckery.


I sent out an eNewsletter earlier this week, I guess that is as good a place as any. ? The Centers for Disease Control update states, “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Keep in mind that even with the above we still need to be cautious in our activities around and about the facility, as with any other public location. If it is determined 100% that maintaining a chlorine level and pH within the recommended guidelines, we are only getting the pool water off the hook. Handrails, ladders, patio furniture, towels, gate latches, etc. are all still a possible means of transmission. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is evolving, and the characteristics of the virus are yet to be determined. Showering before bathing and good pool hygiene practices are more critical now than ever before.

What Ratio of Bleach to Water?

Chlorine is the best thing to use both in and out of the pool. The American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Division has put together a series of posters specifically for Health Departments. 1/3 of a cup of bleach added to a gallon of water and let sit for sixty seconds before wiping off. You can print these posters for use at your facility as well on their Water Quality & Health Council website.

Get Your Poster Here ?? COVID-19 Surface Cleaning and Disinfection

COVID-19 Pool Water

“Although there is no indication that COVID-19 can be spread to humans by using pools and hot tubs, proper operation, maintenance and disinfection, such as using chlorine and bromine, of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19,” said John Norwood, CPSA’s Director of Government Relations.

We Are An Essential Service!

I think we are but are we? Things have started to get a little buck-nutty on social media since the state lockdowns have begun. The city of San Francisco was first, and people were told they have to stay home and not go to work “except for essential services.” Several individuals had created posts citing CISA Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response Version 1.0 (March 19, 2020). Specifically, page 9, Public Works: Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.

COVID-19 Pool Water

The problem here is the section cited does not explicitly state Swimming Pool Service. The folks who made the posts (like the one above) are not wrong by any means. We are an essential service and should be exempt. But it gets tricky anytime any room is left for interpretation in anything. To make matters worse, the city of San Francisco and the states of California, Illinois, and New York have included a more detailed listing. These including the specific types of services that would meet this essential service exemption. Again, swimming pool service would be omitted from the list. But, we’re included, right?

With that, I decided to make a couple of frames for your Facebook profile pictures to support the cause and help educate the public. ?? Facebook Profile Picture Frame

Why don’t we just give ’em a call

Okay, so I’m not the only one to notice this. Actually, quite a few folks had, including the PHTA (Pool & Hot Tub Alliance). The PHTA sends an email yesterday morning encouraging Pool Service Companies, Pool Retailers, Swimming Pool Supply Distribution, and Builders to be proactive. The email (I hope everyone’s cool with me sharing it) instructed PHTA members to contact their legislator and convey that we are indeed an “essential service.”

You can find your legislator here ??

COVID-19 Pool Water
 ☎ My phone has been ringing off the hook this week with questions from both my peers and former students. Add to that the canceling, and rescheduling of CPO classes due to the max gathering of no more than ten people rule. Then the notification from the NRPA (National Recreation & Parks Association) that all AFO classes (yes, I teach those as well) is to be canceled. It’s been a fun week.

The Florida Swimming Pool Association

The FSPA (Florida Swimming Pool Association) has taken a similar approach to the PHTA in encouraging its members to be proactive and call. They are instructing members to share information distributed in their eNewsletters with local health and building department officials to express that “pool maintenance is essential to public health.” The FSPA is also recommending that we educate our residential customers as well on the matter. They have taken the additional steps in initiating an ongoing media blast. This is designed to promote pool service as essential in efforts to further support their members.

The Northeast Spa & Pool Association

NESPA has been distributing a series of video updates with information

The California Pool & Spa Association

The California Pool & Spa Association seems to have made significant progress in that state and is confident pool companies are exempt from the ordinance. They are instructing that product delivery, sanitation, and operation of swimming pools, both commercial and residential, is permitted. IPSSA is on board with this and is referring their members to the CPSA website for instruction.
Cloudy water is one of the leading contributors to death by drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4, the second leading cause if we extend the age to fourteen. With all of the schools closed and all of the kids home, the risk of this threat has increased exponentially. We prevent that. We prevent cloudy water conditions and if a potential customer calls, we can resolve cloudy water issues quickly as well.

The Texas Pool & Spa Coalition

The TPSC (Texas Pool & Spa Coalition) posted on their Facebook page, “As more information on COVID-19 is being disseminated by the federal, state and local governments, there has been a push to classify industries as essential or non-essential. Those deemed as essential can continue to operate as quarantines and restrictions are put in place. Contact Texas lawmakers and let them know that pool & hot tub maintenance is an essential service.”  They do recommend that members refer to the chemical section of the CISA Guidance Doc (link above) should a pool company operating during lockdown need to justify why they are out cleaning pools.

Share This Video to Educate The Public

I put this video together specifically to be shared by pool companies to explain that our job is far more involved than skimming leaves. Pool Companies provide an Essential Service. They prevent waterborne diseases that can make people horribly ill. They prevent cloudy water which is one of the leading contributors to drowning. They minimize the potential for disinfection byproducts which can be harmful to bathers. Most do not realize that there are lives at stake in what they do. Please share this video ??????

So are we, or are we not considered essential?

Aren’t we? I mean, we may not be what comes to mind for most when they hear the term “Essential Service,” but pool companies prevent disease outbreaks daily. It’s not like recreational water illnesses are gonna say “oh sh*t man, my areas on lockdown. I guess we need to self-quarantine too. Hey, do you got any ??” Not at all. If anything, these waterborne zoonoses we battle on the day to day are gonna be like, “This pool is ours now, Bitch!”.

similar article How Can a Homeowner Tell if a Pool Person Has Had Any Training? ?‍?

Unfortunately, without the CISA document naming pool service directly as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, it is likely to be subject to interpretation by the governing body of that geographical location. Even then we will need to hope that the lawmakers have communicated this message appropriately to their enforcement departments out in the field. ??

Help us to help you

If you are a homeowner and you are reading this, please spread the word on social media. Share your thoughts, share this article. No one wants to live in a state with thousands of swamp vomit green pools that serve as a mosquitos nursery. Poorly maintained swimming pools present an extremely elevated drowning risk and a home to recreational water illnesses.

Illnesses your pool service companies prevent: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, E.coli, Adenovirus, Hepatitis A, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella, Leptospirosis, Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, Otitis externa, Naegleria fowleri, etc.

The Best thing we can do is educate. We are essential. Please feel free to share.

It is our duty to ensure that we do not end up with an epic Cryptosporidium Outbreak while everyone else is fighting another battle.

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Rudy Stankowitz is a 30-year veteran of the swimming pool industry and President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants