Prevention and Communal Swimming Pools in Cyprus
The following is some suggested precautions for a shared Communal Swimming Pool in Cyprus.
This article is relevant for swimming pool professionals, facility managers and building management committees.
This article includes information on this specific outbreak and specific suggested actions you can take to reduce the risk of transmission through a buildings communal pool and connected facilities.
This general information is based on World Health Organisation, National Swimming Pool Foundation and CDC suggested best practices; however, things are developing extremely rapidly, and government advice is frequently changing.
It’s essential to keep checking government advice and in the event, there is a contradiction between the below and government advice, follow the official government directives.
Can the Coronavirus spread through swimming pool water?
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of swimming pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate COVID-19.
The current recommended disinfection practice is sufficient to “inactivate” the Covid-19 virus in chlorinated drinking water and swimming pools,
Chlorination is the most used method of swimming pool water treatment in Cyprus
The World Health Organisation recommended chlorination level of 15mg.min/litre is sufficient to kill non-enveloped viruses such as poliovirus, rotavirus and coxsackievirus, and an enveloped virus such as Covid-19 would be inactivated at even lower levels, the document says.
The same rationale applies to standards used to control microbiological hazards in swimming pools treated with disinfectant, it says, although the amount of chlorine required varies according to the type of pool or chlorination chemical used. Jacuzzis or other types of spa pools may need a higher amount, for example.
What preventative measures can you take.
While transmission through properly maintained pool water is unlikely there is a risk of transmission through other bathers and potentially contaminated connected areas such as pool decks, changing facilities, pool furniture etc.
When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. If they are standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them.
Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects. People could also catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
There is no definitive information on how long the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces, but if the virus is like similar viruses, the survival time could range from several hours to several days.
The type of surface, the temperature of the area, and the humidity in the environment may play a role in how long the virus can survive on a surface.
As we do not know for sure, it's important to act if you think a surface may be contaminated. If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it thoroughly with a disinfectant. A diluted bleach solution or approved disinfectant is likely the most effective.
In general, non-essential facilities such as a Communal Swimming Pool’s should be immediately closed as part of the isolation measured announced by the Cyprus government.
•Where possible these areas should be secured to avoid any unauthorised use.
•Pool furniture should be stored away where possible
•Notices placed up advising residents not to swim or use the facilities.
Even with closed facilities, it’s important to ensure the pool water is continually treated with normal sanitiser levels maintaining a disinfectant residual of 1ppm free chlorine and all circulation equipment is in normal working operation.
Please note also that the minimum recommended free chlorine residual depends on the type of pool or chlorination chemical used – for example, spa pools (‘jacuzzis’) need a higher residual.
Once the Cyprus Government has lifted the restrictions on use of shared facilities like swimming pools, I recommend before a pool is reopened that a trained pool operator should perform a disinfection regiment similar to a treatment for contamination of Cryptosporidium.
This treatment requires reaching a 15,300 CT value (for example with pH at 7.5 of lower, raise chlorine to 20ppm and maintain that level for 12.75 hours will achieve this CT value). Then restoring pool chlorine to normal operating levels before opening the pool.
It is more important than ever to ensure that any individual maintaining the swimming pool has completed suitable training and holds a recognised operator certification.
These training programs teach the importance of safe pool operation, water circulation, sanitation and water balance along with specifics on how to prevent and treat for swimming pool pathogen contamination.
You should ask to see the certification card of the operator who physically attends your pool and this can be verified through the qualification provider.
About the Author
In addition to his work as a communal property specialist, Russell Flick is a also a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals and a fully certified Training and Licencing Instructor for the NSPF® -PHTA® International Certified Pool Operator program with additional specialist training in Pool Water Contamination, Aquatic Risk Management and Emergency Response Planning.
This article is the opinion of the author only and is provided for general information of the readers. This does not represent the opinion or guidance of the NSPF, PHTA or APSP or any other organisation. It is important to follow local government guidance and directives and keep checking official sources for any specific instructions.
Looking for more?
If you are a member of your management committee, (or are looking to set one up) you will know that while the communal property regulations are comprehensive, they are sometimes a little difficult to understand and even once understood its not always easy to apply these generic regulations to your individual building with its specific challenges.
To help with this problem my most recent book the Ultimate Committee handbook gives you detailed and step by step instructions on every aspect of being on your committee and running your building. It explains the communal property law in simple terms including real world examples and instructions on how to best apply these regulations.
To get more information on this book, and view a book preview you can click the below link.
Unlock the true potential of your apartment building or resort with The Ultimate Committee Handbook.
The Cyprus Communal Guide
Helping you unlock your buildings true potential.