Water quality of indoor swimming pools and spas (COVID-19)

Those responsible for an indoor artificial pool who had to close it for an extended period during the COVID-19 pandemic must ensure the quality of the bathing water.

The water quality of a swimming pool or other artificial pool must be in compliance with the regulation This hyperlink will open in a new window.. The prescribed concentrations of disinfectant are considered sufficient to inactivate viruses, including those in the coronavirus family.

There is no evidence that bathing water is a vector for the transmission of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.

Before reopening your artificial pool

Make sure the following parameters meet the prescribed standards for your installation and record your measurement results in a log book:

  • Minimum and maximum concentrations of residual disinfectant (chlorine, bromine or ozone);
  • Maximum concentration of chloramines, when chlorine is used for disinfecting;
  • pH;
  • Alkalinity;
  • Clarity (when applicable);
  • Water temperature.

After opening

Continue to strictly monitor these water quality parameters as well as all those stipulated in the regulation, including microbiological parameters (E. coli or fecal coliforms).

If you are the owner or operator of an indoor swimming pool, follow the standards described in this checklist This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French).

If you are the owner or operator of a spa, consult the best operating practices for public spas This hyperlink will open in a new window., more specifically the standards described on page 8.

In the event of a vomiting or fecal accident, evacuate the bathers, close access to the pool and increase the free residual chlorine concentration to the following values:

  • Not less than 10.0 mg/l for 16 hours or not less than 20.0 mg/l for 8 hours (for loose stools);
  • Not less than 2.0 mg/l for 0.5 hours (for solid stools or vomitus).

For other questions about the Regulation respecting water quality in swimming pools and other artificial pools This hyperlink will open in a new window., contact the relevant regional office of the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.

Consult the COVID-19: lieux de baignade This hyperlink will open in a new window. (swimming areas) section of the National Institute of Public Health of Québec (INSPQ) for advice on bather hygiene and the disinfection of equipment.

Stagnant water and legionellosis

The quality of stagnant water in equipment and pipes can deteriorate. The concentration of disinfectant can decrease, sometimes leading to the growth of unwanted bacteria, such as Legionella pneumophila, a bacteria that can cause legionellosis This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Preventing legionellosis

For swimming pools, follow these guidelines:

  • Restart your installation, including your building’s ventilation system, a few days before the first users are admitted;
  • Flush water containing the disinfectant through all components of the swimming pool or other artificial pool without exception: pipes, pumps, filters, etc. Don’t overlook any section of the plumbing where water could stagnate;
  • Flush water containing the disinfectant through all parts of the water displays if applicable.

For spas, the following precautions should be taken:

  • Clean, disinfect and rinse the bottom and walls of the pool, gutters, pipes and pre-filters with a chlorine solution or as recommended by the manufacturer;
  • Be sure to thoroughly clean the plumbing parts (e.g., the jets) that can be hard to access;
  • Clean, unclog, and disinfected the filters as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

For showers, faucets, water fountains and toilets, apply the Recommendations for restoring service to water systems in vacant buildings This hyperlink will open in a new window. issued by the Régie du bâtiment.

Last update: March 30, 2021


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