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STA POOL PLANT – SUMMER BATHER SAFETY

Top 5 Tips For Summer Safety With a long winter behind us and summer approaching, Luke Griffiths, Qualification Development Manager for Pool Plant at Safety Training Awards, shares his top five tips for ensuring bather safety over the coming months

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ith summer just around the corner and swimming pool operators across the UK poised to re-open following the latest lockdown restrictions, the demand for swimming pools and swimming lessons could exceed the availability. This increase in demand with potentially less availability due to social distancing and increased housekeeping routines creates a whole new set of challenges for swimming pool operators, large and small. These include:

areas. Pollution from bathers can never be stopped completely − however, prevention is better than cure. By following simple design recommendations and implementing reasonable pre-swim hygiene procedures, the quality of the water and air can be significantly improved. This policy should be understood by all tiers of staff and actively promoted to all users. COVID-19 could be a real opportunity to re-enforce pre-swim hygiene information at a time where personal hygiene messages have been so prevalent.

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PROGRAMMING

As well as planning for a Covid secure environment, programming the summer swim timetable should ensure that the bather loads are not exceeded and pools can cope with the increased demand. When setting timetables, operators can consider putting on different sessions to encourage sessions with lower bather loads or factoring in rest periods, where the pool can be emptied of bathers, allowing time for the pool to recover before the next session and changing areas to be cleaned.

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CLEANLINESS

With increased bather numbers it can be a constant battle during the summer months to maintain the cleanliness of changing rooms, pools and pool surrounds. This year’s added pressure of further reduced bathing loads and increased cleaning demands will put further strain on this but is essential nonetheless. Ensuring an appropriate cleaning regime is in place that works with the pool programme is essential. Contamination can be picked up on bathers’ feet in the changing rooms and transferred to the pools. As for the pool tank itself, it is likely there will be an increase in physical pollution such as hair, dirt etc, so ensuring that the pool is swept and vacuumed, at least daily, is essential to improve the appearance but mostly reduce the chances of biological growth on the tank.

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PROMOTING SAFE, HEALTHY AND HYGIENIC PRACTICES

Swimming should be a healthy, enjoyable experience but in addition to poor design, a lack of hygiene practices can result in dangerous pollution in the pools and changing

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THE THREAT OF CRYPTOSPORIDIUM

The main focus on pre-opening will be on providing a COVID secure environment, and rightfully so. According to the scientific literature, there is no increased risk of contracting COVID-19 from swimming in chlorinated pools, and pool operators adhering to previously set guidelines will control risk from waterborne COVID-19. However, the threat of organisms which are resistant to chlorine levels maintained in swimming pools such as Cryptosporidium is prevalent all year round, and with more bathers especially young children over the summer seasonal peak it’s a critical point to note. Operators need to reinforce key messages to educate bathers of when not to swim, particularly: • not to swim if suffered diarrhoea in the past 48 hours or • if diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis must not swim for at least 14 days after symptoms have passed and this has been confirmed medically. Operators should always be appropriately prepared and have procedures in place for how to deal with hazardous contaminants, particularly runny or broken up faeces. If operators can keep Cryptosporidium out of the pool in the first place, outbreaks can be prevented, which makes education and hygiene vital. However, operators can’t rely on this alone so need to ensure appropriate plant and procedures are in place to protect bathers in the event of a faecal incident.

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DILUTION AND BACKWASHING More bathers requires more dilution.

Dilution is most important in relation to control of unwanted chlorine and other chemical by-products. The increase in the number of bathers creates a whole new set of challenges for pool operators. Regular dilution via backwashing (and dumping if necessary) are essential in the maintenance of good water quality. It is recommended to replace 30 litres of water per bather, so 100 bathers equal 3,000 litres. Backwashing can be carried out according to pressure differential or fixed time, but it should be done at least weekly. Backwashing should not be carried out when the pool is in use. Time should be allowed for the filter bed to re-compact following backwashing before the pool opens for use, this is normally one third of the turnover period (usually 30 to 120 minutes). Hence, why recommendations are to backwash at the end of the day. This assists in the overnight removal of any particulate breakthrough resulting from backwashing that might include Cryptosporidium oocysts. Backwashing is not recommended during the bathing period for the following reasons: • Filtering ability will be reduced until the filter media re-compacts • Pool water depths may drop and if jumping or diving takes place at reduced depths this could be dangerous • During backwashing, disinfection will cease and may reduce to zero in busy pools • It is likely that the temperature will be lowered by incoming ‘make up’ water. It should be pointed out that this list is by no means definitive, but what does underpin all of this is the importance of professional pool plant training. STA’s Level 3 Award in Pool Plant Operations qualification, which is CIMSPA professionally endorsed, covers all that operators need to ensure safe, clear and hygienic water practices in pools, spas and interactive water features. As well as qualifications STA have published their own COVID-19 Best Practice Guidance for Members in Preparation for UK Swim Schools Re-Opening, which is free to download from www.sta.co.uk Safety Training Awards 01922 645097 www.safetytrainingawards.co.uk

www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk 02/03/2021 21:42

Profile for Aqua Publishing Ltd

SPN (Swimming Pool News) February 2021  

Informing the pool and spa industry since 1959. Covering the UK's wet leisure market, SPN (Swimming Pool News) is the UK's longest running a...

SPN (Swimming Pool News) February 2021  

Informing the pool and spa industry since 1959. Covering the UK's wet leisure market, SPN (Swimming Pool News) is the UK's longest running a...