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  • Lisamarie Lamb

Water Hygiene Considerations for Leisure Centres and Gyms

Leisure Centres and gyms are just like any commercial building in that they all need to follow the HSE guidance for water safety and hygiene. This includes ACOP L8 and the HSG274 documents that support it. The information in these important documents will help duty holders comply with all the regulations related to domestic water systems. If there is a pool on-site, there are other documents, The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group’s Swimming Pool Water: Treatment and Quality Standards for Pools and Spas and the HSE’s HSG282, that will give further, more specific advice.

Yet although there is plenty of guidance for duty holders and responsible persons to take care of the leisure centres and gyms they are in charge of, what else should be taken into consideration? Read on to find out more.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

What Is Needed?

The first thing to note is that there are various elements required to ensure the water health and safety within gyms and leisure centres. They include:

  • Nominating a responsible person for both the domestic water services and any pools

  • Creating a water safety policy and plan for both the domestic water services and any pools

  • Ensuring that records are kept of all checks on those systems

  • Offering adequate legionella training for anyone who monitors the water as well as management

  • Putting a suitable water/legionella risk assessment in place

If any of the above points are missing, the HSE may, after an investigation, send out an improvement notice, and prosecution may follow.

What Can Often Be Overlooked?

There are many things to take into consideration when running and operating a leisure centre, and although you might follow the above points carefully, there are still some things that you may overlook but that are extremely important.

One of these is that you must include any hydro pools or spa pools you have on-site in any plans, risk assessments, and testing regimes. They can often be overlooked, but they present more of a risk of legionnaires’ disease than a standard pool due to the bubbles making easily inhaled droplets.

Another question to ask is whether the pools are being sampled for bacteria. And not just sampled, but sampled at the right frequency in the correct place and for the specific pool bacteria you need to know about. It will depend on what pool you have as to what you need to test for and how, which is why it’s best to have an expert help you. Ideally, you must take any water sampled from a pool away from the inlets and high disinfection points.

Next, are the water outlets all being used on a regular basis? If, for example, you have multiple banks of showers, are some used more than others? If not, you must flush the little-used outlets regularly. As well as the showers, this point relates to bib taps, emergency showers, cold water supplies, and more. Anything that isn’t used a lot should be flushed weekly.

You should also consider your chilled water dispensers and ice machines. These units are usually installed with long pipework, resulting in dead legs which are a problem since they allow legionella bacteria to proliferate.

Image from Pixabay

You Need An Expert’s Help

When it comes to ensuring that your leisure centre or gym is safe for the public to use, it’s best to have an expert to help you. At Assured Water Services, we have decades of experience in swimming pool treatment as well as domestic water systems testing and assessing. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you ensure your leisure centre, gym, or swimming pool is safe and suitable for use.

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