Expert Says Swimming Pool Water Unlikely to Spread Coronavirus

Man in Swimming Pool

Maintaining recommended concentrations of free chlorine in swimming pools could prevent the coronavirus from spreading via water.

Pools across the U.S. are set to reopen in the coming weeks. If recommended chlorine levels are maintained as usual, the pools themselves should pose minimal risk of spreading the coronavirus to swimmers, says a Purdue University engineer who studies pool water decontamination.

For indoor pools, the greater risks to coronavirus spread would include poor air circulation, crowds, and contaminated surfaces such as handrails.

Expert, Ernest “Chip” Blatchley III, Purdue’s Lee A. Rieth Professor in Environmental Engineering, researches how chlorine in swimming pools reacts with contaminants such as human body fluids, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. He is a professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering.

Blatchley says, “There are no data to show how the coronavirus responds to chlorine, but we do know that chlorine effectively inactivates similar viruses.

In the U.S., the general guidance for keeping pools properly disinfected is maintaining a free chlorine concentration between 1 and 5 milligrams per liter. If a pool has that concentration, there would be very little infective novel coronavirus in the water.

On the other hand, the air in an indoor pool is liked to pose similar risks of coronavirus spread as other indoor spaces. 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.”

Blatchley has studied pool water treatment and chemistry for more than 20 years. His work has resulted in dozens of peer-reviewed published papers on pool water chemistry and he is currently serving on two committees within the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code to develop guidance on pool management in the U.S.

5 Comments on "Expert Says Swimming Pool Water Unlikely to Spread Coronavirus"

  1. Lovely website! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also

  2. “Expert Says Swimming Pool Water Unlikely to Spread Coronavirus”

    I don’t know. But I’m willing to call myself and celebrity expert, appear on TV and make it up as I go.

  3. Here We Go Again | May 17, 2020 at 5:42 am | Reply

    Famous last words from self-proclaimed “experts”. Eminently dumb-ass words. Words that defy logic and common sense. Words that defy anything we know about viral infections. Once upon a time “experts” told us that HIV can only be contracted by gay men having gay sex, or coronavirus only affects old people, or masks provide no protection (while they were wearing masks), or numerous other BS, such as one week something is good for you and the next week it’s bad for you.

  4. I see the problem with swimming pools as children gathering in groups and shouting at each other This will project droplets right into their friends faces. Kids always yell at pools.

  5. Kenneth Shoemaker | May 17, 2020 at 7:17 am | Reply

    Chlorine added to water kills viruses and bacteria and it is added to tap water to keep us safe. Water born diseases and related diseases kill more people on this planet then anything else just research it. Countries like Africa and India are hit the worst. The USA rarely has deaths due to water borne disease in drinking water because we some of the best water treatment and chlorine addition is key. I know this because I work at a plant that provides millions of gallons of safe drinking water daily to the public.

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