Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

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Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby jay1979cliff » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:37 am

Hello Everybody

I have been asked a very good question by a colleague.

In their spare time they volunteer for a charity which takes disabled person(s) on day trips, etc. Some of the people they interact with have various transmittable virus' / conditions (HIV, Herpes, Heppatitis, etc) and also some unfortunate side effects of their disability means that they produce all imaginable bodily fluids.

The question relates specifically to swimming pools and contact with with the person's once in the pool if they secrete any of the bodily fluids which may transfer any virus, etc.

I have reasearched and found that most commonly known conditions are controlled to a certain extend by chlorine in the waters (or is killed by the open air). However, the person(s) they care for also have skin conditions which may be irritated by the usual addition of chlorine to the water.

In this scenario, the ideal is for them to be with the person(s) in water that has not had chlorine added. However, does this mean that they are then in any additional danger from any of the conditions that the person(s) they are in the water with may have?

Thanks in Anticipation!

James
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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby Reddwarf » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:36 am

having watched the bbc show the secret tourist, pools without chlorine can spread horrible diseases which are more dangerous than skin irritation. one cause of skin irritation is to high chlorine content. i believe an alternative is salt water pools but not sure of the protection of preventing deceases. have a look for the show on bbc iplayer as there was lots of useful information

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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby redsquirrel » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:26 pm

There's some stuff out there called PoolSan, which is chlorine free, and has been trialled in UK leisure centres....just do a google search and you'll find it straight away.

I had heard about some pools using a very mild electrical current to kill bacteria, but not sure whether that's true or not, and no doubt a system like that would cost an absolute fortune... [smilie=trout2.gif]
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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby kevlarion » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:58 pm

I think you would find it difficult to find a pool which doesn't use either salt or a biocide such as chlorine in order to prevent legionella problems.

You might find the linked articles below helpful :-
http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0139.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimmin ... ation.html
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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby Reddwarf » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:09 pm

Given the transmittable disease they have and the likelihood of them contaminating the pool due to their disabilities. Should the pool owners need to be made aware. As member of the public I would not be keen in sharing a pool if somone is likely to contaminate it due to notbding able to contol themselve. Also this would mean the pool would have to be closed. Which would affect business both short term and long term. So potentially shoul these people be allowed tobuse the pool if they can't control themselves.

I know that seems mean but I would not want to be in a pool if someone is going to contaminate it.

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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby schoolstone » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:26 pm

I agree with Red on this one as the owners/managers of a pool have a duty of care to all users, in that light as a risk assessment, if there is a likelyhood of anyone being infected by another person contaminating the pool, then I am sorry but they should not use it, I know this may sound harsh, but I would not dream of using a public swimming pool if I had an infection that could be transmitted in the water.
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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby Reddwarf » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:00 pm

When we stayed at centreparcs they had signs up stating that anyone that had stomach infections should not use the pool for at least 24hrs after symptoms have cleared up. so even with chlorine there still must be a risk of some infections spreading or at least a tangible risk. From watching the secret tourist show if the owners of the pool don't do the checks and maintain the pools correctly the risk of spreading infections are high and some of these can lead to death.

I'm afraid Jay my advice would be to inform the owners first of the risks.

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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby jay1979cliff » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:07 pm

Thanks very much for all replies - my advice was very much the same - i.e. This should not happen - the pool owner should be looking into alternatives to chlorine, but not to forgo any kind of protections whatsoever. I think my colleague was looking more at the "What if" based on theory rather than they were actually going to go ahead without any kind of protection.

Again - thanks very much for the help!

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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby kevlarion » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:14 pm

It is extremely unlikely that you will catch any infection as a result of swimming in a properly chlorinated pool. According to people who should know such as the american centre for disease control.

Babies with minimal control over their fluids regularly swim in public swimming pools, as to incontinent adults... yes you should always be aware that in a public pool other people have been peeing in it and babies have been doing worse in their training pants while bobbing about in it. People with dermatitis, athletes foot, thrush, cold sores (herpes), and various other rashes also use the pool. Let's not confuse "unpleasant" with "health hazard". Even vomit and blood in the pool are not considered sufficient to close it on health grounds (according to the CDC).

Managers do have a duty of care to us general public, and feaces in the water are not going to be good for business, so they would employ the pooper scooper to deal with it and turn the pumps to max to catch any remnants in the filters, but unless there is a real health risk (ie people are going to get an illness) there is no statutory need to close the pool.

Personally I love swimming, and I usually go for a dip in the sea (which isn't any cleaner (oil, sewage sludge, the occassional radioactive particle, litter, all the animal poop fertiliser and pesticides washed down the rivers, fish poop, dead birds and animals, etc.) rather than the chlorinated pools which even with other people swimming in it are probably much cleaner. - Don't drink the water :)
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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby Twinkle Toes » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:13 pm

There are a number of stringent measures in place for pool operators. The have a range that pool water is to be kept between to ensure effective disinfection, the pool operators will take regular water samples throughout the day measuring the amount of free and total chlorine. There will be a regular cleansing programme in palce for maintenance of pool water, this will based on a number of different factors. There are also regular water samples taken by independant specialists for micrbiological analysis.

There are a variety of different ways to achieve effective disinfection in pools; chlorine, chlorine and ozone; bromine; uv - massive advances are being made with new technologies all the time. I have worked in a variety in my time, all had their different good points.

There will be a number of set procedures in place to pool water in tip top condition, and to deal with variety of things that swimmers do in the water (probably not for open discussion on a family friendly forum, ask by pm). Theses will be standardised for us here is the UK, when researching this on the web, a lot of the guidance that you find will be US based, the run to different protocols over there.

You will generally find that levels of disinfection in pools in the uk much higher than in europe. People are normally covered with a range of non-pathogenic and pathogenic organisms, particularly in the mouth and intestines, and when bathing these can contaminate the water. Going to the toilet and showering before swimming can reduce both the microbiological and organic (sweat and urine) contamination of the water and should be encouraged. Customers should be advised not to swim if they are suffering from an infection that may be passed on through the water, particularly if they have diarrhoea. Ideally they should not swim within a fortnight of diarrhoeal disease. In order to reduce transmission of the organisms shed by infected individuals, a residual disinfectant concentration is maintained which should kill most of these organisms and prevent cross transmission through water that has not passed through the treatment plant since it was contaminated.

A number of infections can be passed whenever a group of people are in close contact. Respiratory infections in particular are probably transmitted as readily in swimming pool environments as in other social situations but adequate disinfection should ensure that transmission through pool water is not common. If disinfection is inadequate, or if hygiene standards are not maintained, infection via pool water may happen.

Hepatitis B virus and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are carried in blood and other body fluids. Infections are transmitted by inoculation into body tissue - by sexual intercourse, injection, cuts, etc. The viruses are susceptible to the action of disinfectant and neither of these viruses can be transmitted as the result of using a swimming pool or spa pool. Sexual activity within pools probably carries the same infection risks as sexual activity anywhere else, and is not related to pool treatment.

Staphylococcus aureus can cause boils, abscesses and infected wounds. Where S aureus is resistant to methicillin and other antibiotics it is termed MRSA. There is no evidence that S aureus or MRSA can be transmitted through normal swimming pool use. There is no evidence to justify the exclusion of MRSA carriers from swimming pools or hydrotherapy pools but people with wounds contaminated with MRSA should be excluded from using pools, particularly hydrotherapy pools

There is an excellece source of information for any pool operator: http://www.pwtag.org/home.html

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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby Reddwarf » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:02 am

I don't think i will ever go swimming in a pool ever again .pale . it's pools that are not correctly maintained that worry me and you have know way of knowing if an illness you come down with was due to the pool you had used or not. I seem to remember someone recently posting on here that them and their daughter became ill after visiting the pool, of course it'd difficult to prove and you just look like someone who is looking to blame someone else.

I'd pretty much feel safe at places like centreparcs etc as they have a reputation to maintain and certainly have enough staff on duty to know they are doing what they should be doing at least complying with pool safety with life guards on duty. But it's the small hotels and possible council run pools that would worry me .shaking

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Re: Swimming Pools Biological Hazards (If no Chlorine!)

Postby Twinkle Toes » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:10 am

Reddwarf wrote:I'd pretty much feel safe at places like centreparcs etc as they have a reputation to maintain and certainly have enough staff on duty to know they are doing what they should be doing at least complying with pool safety with life guards on duty. But it's the small hotels and possible council run pools that would worry me .shaking

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My many years exoerience of lots of different pools and pool operators, be most wary of hotels and private pool operators. Council run facilities have the infrastructure in place to look after and maintain excellent pool water in the same way the operators like centre parcs do, they normally have their own teams of dedicated maintenance people who have enormous pride in having beautiful water (yes, pool water can be geeky ../. )

I've seen some real shockers in my time....... .pale .pukeleft :twisted: :shock:
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