Please note: This is not a fully comprehensive list as each club/facility needs to assess if there are other factors to be taken into consideration. However, these are the key considerations.
These guidelines should be read alongside the Key Considerations and Risk Assessment tools produced by a global experts group led by IHRSA. View also the webinar featuring a top advisor from the World Health Organization discussing these tools to help keep your club open or reopen and show your local health authorities that your club is safe.
Swimming Pools & Filtration
When starting to bring a swimming pool out of mothballing, you will need to take into account how it was shut down in the first place. You can be reasonably assured that your pools and filtration will be in good condition if your facility:
- Left its pumps running and the water circulating;
- Continued backwashing the filters on a weekly/fortnightly basis; and
- Kept the water chlorinated (disinfected).
If you have followed the above measures, the system will just need to be brought back up to temperature. If ventilation has been set to minimum levels but kept operational, adjusting the variable speed motors back up to normal or automatic levels should not create any major problems. As soon as the water quality readings are up to standard and the temperature is as desired, the facility could reopen.
More Serious Pool & Filtration Challenges
At the other end of the scale, for operators who have merely thrown the main switch and abandoned their building, there will be more serious challenges.
Pool filters are the primary defense against microbiological pollution in a swimming pool. They must function correctly to prevent cross contamination of microbiological hazards. It is not much good coming out of COVID-19 and exposing customers to other potentially infectious diseases. Below are some issues to watch out for.
Pool & Filtration Challenges: Inactive Filters
Filters that have not had water circulating through them for over eight weeks will probably have developed a stagnant layer of biofilms that will bind the sand grains and leave the pool potentially contaminated with bacteria. Therefore, pools that have not been circulated need to ensure that the filters are thoroughly cleaned and backwashed with a deep fluidization of the filter bed before considering reopening. In some cases, the contamination may be so bad as to require re-sanding the filters before reopening.
Pool & Filtration Challenges: Contaminated Filters
Contamination of the filters can be tested for by running microbiological tests for TVC/E. coli/PSA before and after the filters on the circulation line. If the results are the same, then the filters are OK; if the results indicate that the water was more contaminated on the way into the filters, they are working well. If, however, the water is more contaminated after going through the filter this indicates that they are in poor condition and need additional cleaning or replacement of the sand.
Pool & Filtration Challenges: Algae on Pool Decks
With the early spring comes the potential for algae to flourish around pool surrounds (deck) and the pool basin and on the sunshine side of the pools. This is normally unsightly but not hazardous. The algae should be physically removed by scrubbing before attempting to disinfect. Once dispersed in the water, the filters should remove it reasonably well. Once the water is treated and circulated through efficient filters it will regain its clarity and hygienic status.
Additional Pool & Filtration Concerns to Check
- Check that the automatic dosing unit is fully operational and appropriately calibrated and the probes are cleaned.
- Check that any floating pool cover is appropriately cleaned on the pool facing surface.
- Check that strainer baskets are clean and clear.
- Check that pumps are fully operational and have not developed any faults while offline.
- Check that deck level grating and its channels are clean.