Special Issue "Public Health Issues of Recreational Waters: Perspectives for Innovation and Advanced Management"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water and One Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Romano Spica
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Public Health Unit, University of Rome “Foro Italico”, Rome 00135, Italy
Interests: recreational waters; disinfection; surveillance; monitoring; hygiene; public health; biotechnology; innovation; swimming pool; SPA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The recreational use of waters represents a technological challenge for hygiene and an opportunity for promoting health by providing safe aquatic environments for sport, rehabilitation, adapted physical activities, and wellness. Public health issues focus on water managing and surveillance not only at the pool level but also along all the pipeline plant in buildings or associated facilities, including those based on the use of coastal/fresh or SPA waters. Innovation plays a major role in handling, monitoring, treating water through the development, improvement or evaluation of novel methods, devices, procedures, strategies, or guidelines to improve the quality and safety of water.

Technical advancements show intensive progress within a very multidisciplinary frame where several types of expertise interact, such as hygiene, medicine, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, informatics, and epidemiology.

This Special Issue seeks papers from different disciplines to collect advancements in the field, both technological and scientific contributes. It welcomes new or improved strategies for water treatment (e.g., filtration, disinfection, flocculation), management (e.g., procedures, devices, novel materials, software), surveillance (e.g., novel markers, molecular monitoring or fast methods) as well as other approaches aimed to enhance water safety and quality.

This Special Issue aims to represent a reference for sharing achievements and proposing perspectives on innovation in managing water for recreational uses, in indoor or outdoor facilities for sport, playtime, rehabilitation, health, and wellness.

Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Romano Spica
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Recreational waters
  • water treatment
  • biofilm
  • disinfection
  • hygiene
  • surveillance
  • water safety plan
  • water management
  • innovation
  • software
  • public health

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Water-Based Therapies of Bhutan: Current Practices and the Recorded Clinical Evidence of Balneotherapy
Water 2021, 13(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13010009 - 23 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Medical water therapy (also called medical hydrology) is practiced worldwide both for relaxation and treatment of diseases. While this practice is still thriving in Bhutan, there is a lack of proper documentation and critical study. Therefore, the current study reports on the water [...] Read more.
Medical water therapy (also called medical hydrology) is practiced worldwide both for relaxation and treatment of diseases. While this practice is still thriving in Bhutan, there is a lack of proper documentation and critical study. Therefore, the current study reports on the water therapies practiced in Bhutan and their health benefits. We used four-stage process: (1) a review of literature on balneotherapy (both traditional textbooks and scientific papers); (2) listing and surveying the hot springs, mineral, and holy spring waters; (3) reviewing the health records of the patients maintained at the traditional hospitals and interviewing traditional physicians and patients about health benefits; and (4) reviewing available literature to identify existing clinical trials data to provide evidence for hydrotherapies. We found three main forms of hydrotherapies are practiced in Bhutan, which comprises herbal bath therapy, balneotherapy, and spiritually empowered waters. The most popular hydrotherapies are herbal bath and hot spring therapies. Herbal bath therapy needs traditional physicians’ prescriptions, while hot springs do not require it. Through field surveys, ten different hot springs (tsha-chu) and 17 medicinal water or mineral springs (sman-chu), and 17 holy spring-waters (sgrub-chu) were identified. In general, medical water therapies are used by the Bhutanese people to treat various ailments, including gastritis, neurological disorders, arthritis, dermatological diseases, and rheumatological and musculoskeletal disorders. Even though a lack of scientific evidence makes it difficult to draw concrete conclusions on their traditionally claimed efficacy and safety, there are clinical evidences documented from other countries. Full article
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Article
Recreation and Tourism Service Systems Featuring High Riverbanks in Taiwan
Water 2020, 12(9), 2479; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092479 - 04 Sep 2020
Viewed by 621
Abstract
Taiwan’s cities exhibit high levels of urbanization, which has resulted in limited recreation space in urban areas. In response, government policies have been enacted to promote the large-scale greening of rivers in urban areas and the establishment of aquatic recreation areas that do [...] Read more.
Taiwan’s cities exhibit high levels of urbanization, which has resulted in limited recreation space in urban areas. In response, government policies have been enacted to promote the large-scale greening of rivers in urban areas and the establishment of aquatic recreation areas that do not interfere with water flow areas, pavilions for recreation purposes, indoor stadiums, and biking lanes alongside riverbanks to provide citizens with recreation space. An expert team was convened to investigate 50 riverside recreation sites, and the Comfortable Water Environment Rest Assessment Form was devised. The investigation results revealed three factors that contribute to the value of riverside recreation sites; the three factors had a total explanatory power of 70.17%. The factors, namely exercising and leisure, overall design plan and entrance image, and environmental maintenance and service, had an explanatory power of 25.52%, 23.32%, and 21.32%, respectively. Finally, this study provides guidance for constructing service systems for riverside recreation sites by referencing practical cases. This study suggests that future designs focus on the characteristics of visitors as the main consideration when investing resources in recreation sites. In addition, more exercise and recreation equipment and facilities should be provided at recreation sites located within highly populated areas. For recreation sites that feature beautiful scenery, greater degrees of overall design planning and entrance image qualities can be integrated into the recreation sites, and environmental teaching materials can be incorporated into the environment. Furthermore, this study suggests that residents who live near recreation sites form and operate volunteer groups to contribute to environmental maintenance and the relevant services; this would greatly enhance the overall experience of comfort of visitors to the recreation sites. Finally, this study provides guidance for low-intensity construction in high riverbank areas. Full article
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Article
Analysis of the Microbiome (Bathing Biome) in Geothermal Waters from an Australian Balneotherapy Centre
Water 2020, 12(6), 1705; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061705 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 781
Abstract
Balneotherapy is an ancient practice which remains commonplace throughout the world due to perceived health benefits that include relief of arthritis, fibromyalgia and relaxation. However, bathing environments are not sterile and natural spring waters may harbour natural microbial populations that include potential pathogens. [...] Read more.
Balneotherapy is an ancient practice which remains commonplace throughout the world due to perceived health benefits that include relief of arthritis, fibromyalgia and relaxation. However, bathing environments are not sterile and natural spring waters may harbour natural microbial populations that include potential pathogens. We elucidated the microbial community from water taken from the borehole, pre-filter water (chlorinated, cold and post-bathing water) and post-filter water at a commercial Australian natural hot spring bathing facility. Thiobacillus, Sphingobium and Agrobacterium were the predominant genera in samples collected from the borehole. The predominant genera changed to Sphingobium, Parvibaculum and Achromobacter following chloride treatment and Azospira replaced the Achromobacter once the water reached ambient temperature and was stored ready to be used by bathers. The microbial community changed again following use by bathers, dominated by Pseudomonas, although Sphingobium persisted. No total or faecal coliforms were observed in any of the samples except for the post-bathing water; even there, their presence was at very low concentration (2.3 cfu/mL). These results confirm the lack of pathogens present in these hot spring waters but also suggests that good management of post-bathing water is required especially if the water is used for borehole water recharge. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Free and Combined Chlorine Concentrations in Swimming Pool Water and an Attempt to Determine a Reliable Water Sampling Point
Water 2020, 12(2), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020311 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
The analysis of free chlorine concentrations in swimming pool water makes it possible to assess the antiseptic effect of the disinfectant. The concentration of combined chlorine determines the comfort of swimming and indicates if there is a threat from DBP (disinfection by-products). The [...] Read more.
The analysis of free chlorine concentrations in swimming pool water makes it possible to assess the antiseptic effect of the disinfectant. The concentration of combined chlorine determines the comfort of swimming and indicates if there is a threat from DBP (disinfection by-products). The distribution of free and combined chlorine concentration was analyzed in four basins differing in seasonality of use and in the applied water flow systems. After considering the distribution of free and combined chlorine content in characteristic points of pools, an attempt was made to determine the most reliable point for assessing the quality of water and its suitability for swimming. Such searches should aim to identify the places with the worst water quality. The most uniform distribution of the concentrations of both free and combined chlorine was observed at the middle point of swimming pools, while at points near the corners and walls of swimming pools a varied distribution was observed. Such a control strategy, based on the least favorable test results at a point considered as characteristic, would make it possible to verify the parameters of the swimming pool water treatment system and thus minimize the risk to swimmers’ health. Full article
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Article
Biosensors in Monitoring Water Quality and Safety: An Example of a Miniaturizable Whole-Cell Based Sensor for Hg2+ Optical Detection in Water
Water 2019, 11(10), 1986; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11101986 - 24 Sep 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1125
Abstract
Inorganic mercury (Hg2+) pollution of water reserves, especially drinking water, is an important issue in the environmental and public health field. Mercury is reported to be one of the most dangerous elements in nature since its accumulation and ingestion can lead [...] Read more.
Inorganic mercury (Hg2+) pollution of water reserves, especially drinking water, is an important issue in the environmental and public health field. Mercury is reported to be one of the most dangerous elements in nature since its accumulation and ingestion can lead to a series of permanent human diseases, affecting the kidneys and central nervous system. All the conventional approaches for assaying Hg2+ have some limitations in terms of bulky instruments and the cost and time required for the analysis. Here, we describe a miniaturizable and high-throughput bioluminescence sensor for Hg2+ detection in water, which combines the specificity of a living bacterial Hg2+ reporter cell, used as sensing element, with the performance of a silicon photomultiplier, used as optical detector. The proposed system paves the basis for portable analysis and low reactants consumption. The aim of the work is to propose a sensing strategy for total inorganic mercury evaluation in water. The proposed system can lay the basis for further studies and validations in order to develop rapid and portable technology that can be used in situ providing remote monitoring. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Impact of Cyanuric Acid on Bather’s Risk of Gastrointestinal Illness at Swimming Pools
Water 2019, 11(6), 1314; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061314 - 25 Jun 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3722
Abstract
Current regulatory codes for swimming pool disinfection separately regulate free chlorine (FC) and cyanuric acid (CYA). It is well-known that CYA affects disinfection rates by reversibly binding to FC in aqueous solutions. However, limits for these regulated parameters have neither systematically accounted for [...] Read more.
Current regulatory codes for swimming pool disinfection separately regulate free chlorine (FC) and cyanuric acid (CYA). It is well-known that CYA affects disinfection rates by reversibly binding to FC in aqueous solutions. However, limits for these regulated parameters have neither systematically accounted for this chemistry nor been based on the risk of gastrointestinal illness. This study was intended to determine the minimum concentration of FC relative to CYA based on the risk of gastrointestinal illness from normal fecal sloughing of selected pathogens and to find a simple regulatory rule for jointly managing FC and CYA for consistent disinfection. Literature data on CYA’s effect on microbial inactivation rates were reanalyzed based on the equilibria governing hypochlorous acid (HOCl) concentration. A model was developed that considers the rates of pathogen introduction into pool water, disinfection, turbulent diffusive transport, and pathogen uptake by swimmers to calculate the associated risk of illness. Model results were compared to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) untreated recreational water acceptable gastrointestinal illness risk. For Cryptosporidium, correlation between log inactivation and Chick–Watson Ct was far better when C refers to HOCl concentration than to FC (r = −0.96 vs. −0.06). The HOCl concentration had a small variation (± 1.8%) at a constant CYA/FC ratio for typical FC and CYA ranges in swimming pools. In 27 U.S. states, the allowed FC and CYA results in HOCl concentrations spanning more than a factor of 500. Using conservative values for a high bather load pool with 2 mg/L FC and 90 mg/L CYA, the model predicted a 0.071 annual probability of infection for Giardia, exceeding the EPA regulatory 0.036 limit for untreated recreational waters. FC and CYA concentrations in swimming pools should be jointly regulated as a ratio. We recommend a maximum CYA/FC ratio of 20. Full article
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