Pre-Swim Hygiene

All sorts of things can go wrong with swimming pool water for any number of different reasons. Things can get out of hand very quickly if you don't know what you're doing. However, there is one key variable that can have a dramatic influence on the quality of your pool water. Get this issue right, and you will experience far fewer problems with regard to pool water quality, you'll spend far less money on expensive chemicals and you and your duty managers will spend far less time trying to resolve issues. What's more, to implement and control this issue is very easy and simple to do and will hardly cost you anything in time, money or effort. So, what is this issue that can have such a dramatic effect? Pre-swim showering!

You should look at your pre-swim showering policy and consider the following facts:

  1. the pollution on bather bodies is what makes up most of the pollution into the pool
  2. the remainder of the pollution only exists in the first place because of the chemical reactions resulting from the chemicals you are having to add to deal with 1.
  3. pre-swim showering removes most of the pollution on bathers
  4. less bather pollution = less chemicals = less chemical by-products = better pool water = happy bathers

How difficult would it be to ensure that every bather, without fail, showers before entering your pool? It is, after all, your pool and your responsibility to keep it clean and safe.

Ensure that the pre-swim showers are working, that they are warm, and that they are situated on the journey from the changing rooms to the swimming pool.

Similarly, with toilets, ensure that they are not unpleasant to use, are kept clean, and are situated conveniently so that swimmers are not discouraged from using them.

Exclusion of Swimmers

Parents should be encouraged not to bring children under the age of 6 months to public swimming pools where they share the water with other general swimmers (unsuitable water temperatures and pool water chemicals may affect sensitive skin). Ideally, young children’s pools should be provided with separate water treatment and filtration and should be able to be emptied in the event of a faecal fouling incident.

Very young children should use special swimming nappies, which are designed to absorb and retain any soiling. Standard nappies are not adequate protection. Neither is suitable in the event of diarrhoea; in this case babies should not use the pool.

Convenient nappy changing facilities should be provided in changing areas (these should be cleaned regularly), be equipped with sinks for hand-washing and have bins for nappy disposal which are emptied regularly.

Control entry using notices at reception saying that people with diarrhoea must not swim – then, or for 48 hours afterwards. Those who have been diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis must not swim for 14 days after diarrhoea has stopped.

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