To Whom It May Concern,
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that controlling water quality is necessary to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
Pool maintenance has been deemed an essential service by Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, all the other counties throughout the state of Florida, and the US Dept. of Homeland Security.
We have all heard the announcement not to use strata pools. The spirit of this should be to prevent the congregation and commingling of people in a confined area and not that the use of the pool itself is a problem.
First off, we cannot overlook the potential health and safety hazards that preventing proper maintenance would represent. It is required by law to maintain the clarity of pool water such that the bottom drain must be visible at all times. If the pool becomes cloudy, and you are not able to see the bottom drain, this poses a great risk for a potential drowning accident. If a child is playing in their backyard or on strata grounds with their unsanitized, unmaintained pool and, God forbid that child falls in the pool, how are their family members going to know? How would they be able to see them to pull them to safety? Why should this be a possibility to even occur?
Secondly, although the public and strata pools, spas, hot tubs and fountains in Cayman are closed, their sanitary maintenance is mandatory in order to prevent the spread of other infectious diseases by mosquitoes, other pests & vermin and the diseases they may carry, which presents a risk not only to bathers but to the entire community at large. We will be facing the spread of diarrheal illnesses caused by Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus, and E. Coli; skin conditions such as Pseudomonas Dermatitis/Folliculitis; ear infections; and respiratory infections.
If we allow the thousands of pools on this island to go green, they will become a monstrous and magnificent network of science experiments and mosquito breeding grounds, and we could have a secondary health crisis on our hands that could easy overtake the risk that this coronavirus poses.
Some people might ask, “Why not just throw some bleach in there?” There are several factors that make this an ineffective measure for pool chemistry.
The strength of bleach is approximately 6-10% sodium hypochlorite. Proper pool chlorine is a minimum of 68% calcium hypochlorite and up to 99% trichloroisocyanruric acid. Bleach does not have the proper amount of free and available chlorine to provide proper sanitation and disinfection.
The pH of bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is about 13.0. This is a very basic or alkaline product. Proper pool pH level is to be 7.2-7.6. Bleach will cause the pH of pool water to raise significantly. When the pH of water reaches only 8.0, the strength of the chlorine is reduced to approximately 25%. Therefore, if you have the required minimum chlorine level of 2.0ppm, this will effectively be only a .5ppm level since it is incapacitated by the high pH level. The strength & effectiveness will only go down as more bleach is added.
Chlorine levels are only one aspect of the 9 different parameters that need to be balanced in order to maintain the sanitation of a swimming pool. Those untrained in this delicate balance of all the parameters tend to only think of chlorine as that is all they are aware of and ignorant to the others.
If you do use bleach in the pool or hot tub, you WILL NOT be able to use it for recreational purposes. The bleach will not provide enough free and available chlorine to overcome the bather load and biological contaminants from actually using the body of water. Using bleach may only provide enough chlorine to hopefully delay the onset of an algal bloom until proper sanitizer is available for purchase.
Pools that have a salt water chlorine generator system installed cannot use bleach as a sanitizer. First, they don’t need to as the system creates its own chlorine. Second, the chlorine it generates is sodium hypochlorite, similar to bleach but in a higher concentration strength. These pool owners already know that muriatic acid needs to be added two to three times a week to keep the pH levels down in order to allow the chlorine to be able to sanitize the water. Without the proper acid to add to these pools, their pH will be above 8.0 within one week.
The next question someone will ask is, “Why don’t you just empty the pool?” This is both unwise and unsafe for several reasons.
The water inside a swimming pool is engineered into the overall strength and support structure of the pool. The weight of the water (8.3lbs/ft3) actually helps hold the pool in the ground, particularly in areas with water table issues. Without the weight of the water holding the pool down, the pool shell can literally pop out of the ground. This is a catastrophic failure damaging the physical structure, breaking all the plumbing pipes and renders the pool destroyed. The costs to remedy this are astronomical.
Pool plaster is a cementitious product that is engineered to be in a submerged setting. If the water is emptied from a pool, the plaster surface will start to craze, then crack, then begin falling off the cement substrate in chunks. This then requires a complete resurfacing of the pool shell. This will cost a minimum of $6000-8000 for a small pool, and only going up from there.
An empty pool is still a safety hazard as it will collect rain water. This rain water will be untreated by normal pool chemicals and filtration. As such, this will become a stagnant source of water for mosquitoes and other vermin.
An empty pool poses the safety risk of someone being able to fall in and suffering great bodily harm from the blunt force trauma of falling 3-8ft. onto a cement structure.
An empty hot tub will have several problems as well. If emptied, the many seals and gaskets can dry out and crack. When refilled, these gaskets will leak and necessitate replacement. When draining a hot tub, this will only remove water from the vessel; this does not empty the water from inside the plumbing lines. After a short period, this water will become stagnant, foul and form a biofilm which is very difficult to treat and remove. Additionally, in our tropical environment, an empty hot tub will create an “oven” effect. Within a few weeks, the heat from the sun will warp and distort many plastic parts necessitating replacement.
Finally, the people who are confined at home and have pools can use them as a vital means of exercise to maintain physical, and therefore mental, health. With gyms and other public facilities closed during our shelter in place orders, the backyard pool, spa or hot tub provides the ideal way for families to focus on their health and well-being. These pools and hot tubs must be properly maintained to ensure proper sanitation measures are taking place. By using the pools and spas at their home, our people are achieving the goal of staying at home, staying off the roads, and not running the risk of contracting the virus, which is paramount to trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus and flatten the curve.
When a pool technician performs weekly maintenance, they typically work in isolation and do not encounter customers. Prior to shut down, pool supply stores were having customers and technicians collect their goods outside and practicing social distancing in the event the technician needed to go in the store for any purpose.
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) firmly believes the companies that supply pool sanitization and disinfection materials such as pool retail stores, the companies that manage the maintenance of swimming pools, hot tubs and other artificial bodies of water are essential to preventing the transmission of infectious diseases, helping maintain community health, and ensuring public safety. Maintaining the cleanliness and sanitization of recreational water is very essential in general, but even more so, specifically, here in the Caribbean.
To belittle or undermine this important matter of proper pool, spa & hot tub maintenance, sanitation and disinfection is counterproductive to maintaining the health and sanity of our people during these unprecedented and very difficult times.
Pool Patrol's vision is to provide an accessible, luxurious pool and spa experience to residential and commercial clients, within a wide range of budgets and clientele.
Pool Patrol is an established provider of the following services in the Pool & Spa industry:
Pool Patrol's status as the longest serving member of the Pool and Spa industry is backed by a large portfolio of residential and commercial work in Grand Cayman. The company's ethos is to provide personalised, tailored service to clients of all sizes ensuring that their extraordinary expertise is available widely and within any design budget
Good taste can not be defined by simply money. The luxury in life is ease of movement, design that is conscious of its space and environment, spaces that flow and are intuitive to their inhabitants. At Pool Patrol, luxury can be achieved with a gracefully designed personal spa set in a residential outdoor space or via a sporting lap pool that sprawls a large backyard. No two pools are ever the same at Pool Patrol.