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Legionella is another cause of potential concern if a safe hygienic environment is not maintained.

It is a naturally occurring bacterium found in lakes, rivers and water systems and is generally at a level too low to constitute a risk to health. However, Legionella will survive low temperatures, but will thrive and multiply to dangerous levels at temperatures between 20 and 45°C if a supply of nutrients is available (e.g. rust, sludge, scale, algae and other bacteria).

As well as living free in water, Legionella also infects a range of single-celled amoebae. They can act as a host to hundreds of Legionella bacteria, providing them with abundant nutrients so they can multiply rapidly. This association between amoebae and Legionella is common in biofilms. Anywhere that contains warm water without adequate disinfection is a potential breeding ground for Legionella. The threat of colonisation in poorly managed facilities is high and can result in fatalities.

THE NEED FOR EDUCATION STA’s survey by way of the fact that so many people are prepared to return to the water within 48 hours and avoid showering before they get into the water shows there is an urgent need to educate users. Plus, more than half of the survey respondents said that not enough is being done by centre management to provide sufficient hygiene information at the poolside.

Robbie added: “Budgets are constantly being squeezed in the leisure sector, but this survey reveals that maintaining and operating swimming pools to the highest standards is essential. This in turn can, in fact, make the centres more cost effective.

It is incumbent that pool managers provide a safe hygienic environment in order to prevent the spread of diseases. We need to ensure clients know the hygiene rules and that staff are professionally trained in pool plant management so that they can maintain a safe hygienic pool operation.”

THE NEED FOR TRAINING This survey further highlights the importance of pool plant training, and as the lead awarding body for pool plant training, STA has developed three unitised Level 2 and Level 3 Swimming Pool and Spa Water Treatment qualifications, which sit on the government’s National Framework with Ofqual approval.

The courses, designed to meet the training needs of the leisure industry, cover awards in Water Testing, Swimming Pool Water Treatment and Pool Plant Operations. Uniquely, the Level 3 Pool Plant Operations course contains chapters on spas including Hydrotherapy, Energy Conservation and Health & Safety.

STA have produced posters for operators to be displayed in changing areas and poolside. To receive your free copy email

Robbie confirmed that the courses have been developed to provide quality training in line with modern practices and at costs that meet current economic requirements. They cover half-day awards in Water Testing through to 3-day Swimming Pool Operation qualifications. STA has also introduced a revolutionary online leisure management system,, to assist operators with effectively managing staff, qualifications, training and safety obligations as well as monitoring water treatment. The system’s unique online pool chemical monitoring system helps operators pro- actively control and maintain the correct disinfectant and pH levels, and automatically alerts staff of pool plant issues that need immediate action.

“These duties can be laborious and can take qualified staff away from front line duties that actively aid the preservation of life,” said Robbie.

“Often there is a lack of action when poor readings are identified from testing pool water. In this situation, managers need to be

alerted quickly so that appropriate action can be taken for the safety of the customers and the maintenance of pool water standards.”

LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY Ensuring pool water is treated correctly is critical to organisations as it ensures aquatic facilities remain fully compliant with Industry Laws and that customers are in the safest possible environment.

In the UK there have been numerous incidents where operators have fallen foul of record keeping requirements. In-depth investigations frequently highlight failings in systems and processes leaving aquatic environments falling short of standards. This problem becomes exponentially more complex and can result in investigation from Environmental Health. In extreme cases, legal claims can be made related to illness caused by poorly treated pool water. SPN

STA 01922 645097

SPN April 2013 39

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