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Public Swimming Pools and Spa Pools

Public Swimming Pools and Spa Pools

Under the South Australian Public Health Act 2011, all swimming pools and spas in the Copper Coast Council area that are used by the public must comply with the South Australian Public Health (General) Regulations 2013 and associated standards.

Under the Regulations,the definition of Public swimming and spa pools includes pools (eg swimming pool, spa pool (including filled display spa pools), wading pool, hydrotherapy pool, water playgrounds, water-slide pools) for use:

  • by persons on payment of an admission or membership fee
  • in association with temporary accommodation (eg a hotel, motel or caravan park)
  • by persons who attend, live or work on the premises where the pool is located, excluding pools associated with a single private residence that are only made available for the use of the residents and their guests.

Owner and Occupier Responsibilities

Any pool available for use by the public, the owner or occupier of the premises must ensure that the pool is under the care, control and management of a person with appropriate knowledge and experience in matters relating to the care, control and management of public pools as per the relevant codes.Water

The definition of an occupier, in relation to premises, means a person who has, or is entitled to, possession or control of the premises and includes a person who is in charge of the premises (for instance the pool manager).

In conjunction with the Act and Regulations, Department of Health has published two documents to assist pool owners and occupiers and also local government:

These codes have been prepared to assist operators of public swimming pools or spa pools to ensure that pool management and water quality are maintained at a standard that does not jeopardise the health or well-being of pool users.

Users and Visitor Responsibilities

The legislation in South Australia prescribes requirements for owners, occupiers and users of public pools to protect public health. By following a few simple steps, you can assist pool operators in keeping the water safe and clean for everyone to enjoy. Refer to Risk Associated with Swimming and Spa Pools below.

Inspecting and Maintaining Public Pools

The following assists relevant authorities, pool owners and operators and the pool industry to maintain satisfactory public swimming and spa pool management standards, specifically dealing with water quality management aspects such as circulation and filtration, automatic disinfection, pH analysis and control equipment, water testing procedures, water replacement and chemical balance of pool water. It also includes matters regarding pool structures, pool surrounds, amenities, ventilation, safety and chemical storage.

The guidelines set the inspection and routine maintenance requirements of pool plant, equipment and surrounds to ensure pool water quality is maintained as prescribed by the General Regulations and includes a comprehensive inspection check-list.

Risks Associated with Public Pools

Public swimming pools and spas can be very popular. However, if they are not properly maintained they can be a source of harmful micro-organisms that can cause illness to users. Bathers and the environment can introduce pollutants to pool water, which may lead to the spread of infectious diseases. Poorly maintained chemical levels can also cause problems such as skin rashes and irritated eyes. Managers of public pools are responsible for ensuring that the facilities they are providing are safe and hygienic.

Spa pools can create a greater risk of infection than swimming pools if they are poorly maintained. The warm aerated water provides an ideal environment for the rapid growth of many undesirable micro-organisms. Spa pools have large numbers of people entering a small volume of water, therefore the organic and microbial loading may become more concentrated. This can have dramatic and adverse effects on the water quality, potentially placing the health of users at risk.

Faecal Release Incidents

Faecal matter can contain harmful bacteria, viruses and micro-organisms. Some faecal micro-organisms are resistant to chlorine so special care must be taken when responding to a faecal release incident.

Pool operators - The Faecal release incidents – public pool response strategies fact sheet has been developed to assist pool operators to appropriately respond to faecal contamination of public swimming and spa pools.

Pool users - parents of children:

  • should not be allowed to swim if they have had diarrhoea in the last two weeks.
  • should wear tight fitting, waterproof pants or swim nappies when in the pool it they are not toilet trained
  • changing nappies should always be carried out in a bathroom or on a change table, never poolside or on tables designed for eating and always wash hands thoroughly after changing a nappy every time
  • should an accident happen in the pool, report it immediately so that appropriate action can be taken to treat the water.

Cryptosporidiosis (Diarrhoea)

Cryptosporidium (Crypto) is a gastrointestinal infection caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite and is spread from an infected person through faeces and can make other people extremely sick.

  • Crypto can be spread by infected people in swimming pools.
  • People with diarrhoea should not use a swimming pool until two weeks after the diarrhoea stops.
  • Crypto is not killed by normal levels of swimming pool disinfection.

Minimising the risk of cryptosporidiosis in public swimming pools and spa pools - for pool operators fact sheet has been developed to assist pool operators. Posters and cor-flute signs are available free of charge from SA Health.

Further Information

Further information on management of public pools:
  • Contact SA Health Protection Programs on (08) 08226 7100
  • Visit SA Health website
  • Email: