As Pools Ready to Open, Expert Shares Thoughts on Coronavirus Spread and Pool Water
As temperatures rise and areas start planning to open their local and community pools for the summer season, you might wonder if it's safe to head to the nearby pool with the coronavirus pandemic.
Ernest "Chip" Blatchley, a Purdue University Lee A. Rieth Professor in Environmental Engineering who studies pool water decontamination, says the water in your local pool is unlikely to spread coronavirus.
"There are no data to show how the coronavirus responds to chlorine, but we do know that chlorine effectively inactivates similar viruses," Blatchley said in a press release.
The general guidance in the United States is to keep pools properly disinfected by maintaining a free chlorine concentration between 1 and 5 milligrams per liter, he said.
"If a pool has that concentration, there would be very little infective novel coronavirus in the water," Blatchley said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas.
Blatchley said that for indoor pools, the greater risks to spreading coronavirus include things such as crowds, contaminated surfaces at the pool such as handrails and poor air circulation.
"On the other hand, the air in an indoor pool is liked to pose similar risks of coronavirus spread as other indoor spaces," Blatchley said. "A person's risk would not be affected by the water. The most relevant issue would be contamination of the air or surfaces in these facilities."