Swimming pool water inactivates Covid-19 in 30 seconds

Places Leisure takes part in major study

Virologists at Imperial College London have concluded that swimming pool water can inactivate the Covid-19 virus in 30 seconds, and that transmission in pool water is incredibly low.

The study was undertaken by leading virologist and expert in respiratory viruses, Professor Wendy Barclay, together with Dr Jonathan Brown and research technician Maya Moshe from Imperial College London. Places Leisure worked in collaboration with Swim England, Water Babies and the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) who commissioned the study, by providing water samples for the research.

Experiments were performed at Imperial’s high containment laboratories in London, where researchers were able to measure the ability of the virus to infect cells – the first step in transmission. The research determined that 1.5mg per litre of free chlorine with a pH between 7-7.2 reduced the infectivity of the virus by more than 1000 fold within 30 seconds. Additional testing confirmed that chlorine in swimming pool water was more effective with a lower pH – which is in line with current guidance for swimming pool operation.

Throughout the research project, Places Leisure were pleased to provide access to pools from the Wandsworth contract in Tooting and Putney Leisure Centres, where the team were able to collect pool water samples that were then used in the lab to establish the effect of pool water on the virus.

Mark Haslam, Head of Swimming and Sports at Places Leisure said, “The research project is another great example of the Places Leisure team working with the industry. When Alex Blackwell from Water Babies, (and former Places Leisure colleague), got in touch about contributing to the research, we were only too happy to help out and provide the required water samples for the project. The results are just what the industry needs, and we are looking forward to welcoming customers old and new back to our pools in the coming weeks”.

As indoor swimming pools across the country reopened on Monday 12 April as part of the Government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions, the research will give everyone returning to the water peace of mind that they are doing so in a safe and secure manner.

Swimming has multiple benefits for physical and mental health for both children and adults of all ages and the entire Places Leisure team is delighted to be welcoming back members and restarting our ever-popular swimming lessons.

Places Leisure operates 69 pools across the country. Find your nearest Places Leisure pool

Read the full article from Swim England

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