What’s Known About Chlorine’s Impact On Coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting travel, business and sporting events, as well as day-to-day living around the world.

For instance, we reported yesterday how, in addition to cancelling its Olympic swimming trials meet slated for next week, Italy itself became the first nation to place its entire territory under quarantine in an effort to contain the virus.

Questions abound about how COVID-19 is spread, how it can be treated and what one’s risk is in different situations.

A point of positivity from a swimmer’s perspective at least is that Ireland’s Health Service Executive, essentially the equivalent of the Department of Health & Human Services in the United States, confirms that coronavirus cannot be transmitted in drinking water and swimming pools, provided these mediums are properly chlorinated.

Per Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Center, the following detailed specifics are minimally required to sufficiently inactivate COVID-19 virus in chlorinated drinking water and swimming pools:

  • For Drinking Water chlorination, ‘current recommendations’ is taken to mean a Ct value of at least 15 mg.min/liter (for example exposure to 0.5 mg/l free chlorine for at least 30 minutes).
  • For Swimming Pool chlorination, operating to ‘current recommendations / best practice’ means maintenance of a free chlorine residual of at least 1.0 mg/l (depending on pool type and disinfectant used).

Important to note is that, in the absence of data on this newly identified SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the aforementioned is based on what is known about severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV or SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV or MERS), which caused the two previous Coronavirus outbreaks. This new strain is in the same coronavirus family as MERS and SARS.

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4 years ago

Since March 15 I’ve been teaching swim lessons in my back yard heated 20 x 40 pool for between six and eight hours a day, six days a week. Over 200 swimmers have learned to swim during this time. Every summer we teach about 1000 kids. There hasn’t been a single report illness or case of Covid-19 from any of the families that have been coming.
I keep my water temp at 87 and the chlorine levels a little higher than 1.5.
I have plenty of room for spectator social distancing and our bathroom is sprayed down between lessons.
Keep in mind – learning to swim is an ESSENTIAL SKILL for young children to learn. More children… Read more »

lisa l battles
4 years ago

Our pool is ozonated and we were told by the Houston Health Dept that our pool also kills the virus.

rebecca snyder
4 years ago

How is a bromine based facility affected?

4 years ago

This is good news, but…
the coronavirus can be transmitted simply by breathing the same air. A cough isn’t even necessary. Swimmers definitely share the same air in close proximity. This is something to be aware of in any social situation, even at the gym.

4 years ago

As a pubic educator, for Interfaith Relations, and foreign policy in a university setting, I am mystified that everything is being cancelled. That said, as a long distance swimmer, age 72, very important to me, ha ha all of a sudden I have much more freedom to just go to the pool and do my laps. I certainly hope that this will continue to be the case. Tks

not a joke
4 years ago

sneezes and breath are not chlorinated. the water is one thing the air is another

4 years ago

That’s all well and good, but I use a cabana (one person shower/toilet) at our public swimming pool, and I can say they are less than spic and span…Iit’s great to know we’re protected in the water, but what about after we get out?

4 years ago

What about salt-based pools?

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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