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STA POOL PLANT – MICROBIOLOGICAL OUTBREAKS

A Growing Cause For Concern STA’s Lead Pool Plant Expert, Robbie Phillips, answers your Top 5 questions in light of growing concerns across the industry over basic pool plant management standards, and the increased number of microbiological outbreaks being reported.

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n the press over the last few months, there seems to be a marked increase in problems being reported that originate from pools.  But, is this simply a coincidence or could the root cause of these outbreaks be due to budgetary cuts in pool maintenance and lack of training?  My learned colleagues and I suspect the latter and that the cuts witnessed a couple of years ago are now starting to have an impact. As an industry, I strongly believe that we must work quickly to understand how serious and widespread these potential issues are, and then together work to start making positive changes. Prevention is key and with this being SPN’s last issue for 2016, we’ve selected our top 5 FAQs from the past 12 months to highlight some of the issues and questions that are being asked: Q) I have been asked by the local authority to carry out a plant safety audit. How often should I do this and what does it really consist of? A) A plant safety audit should initially take place during the design stage prior to handover. This will dictate the controls for the safety of users and staff. There should be an audit when any process changes. The audit is also known as a ‘Risk Assessment’.

Poor control and management of wet leisure facilities, like this clogged-up balance tank, can result in serious health and safety consequences for bathers and the operator

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Q) We have opened a new hotel pool and I am not sure whether in its construction or design we have given sufficient attention to entrapment problems. What should I be looking for to see if we are legally safe? A) A risk assessment should be taken to identify two possible dangers due to bad design or poor operation: hair entrapment and suction entrapment. If you suspect either then serious consideration should be given to closing the pool until the danger is eliminated. Your pool contractor is liable, as are you, for operating potentially dangerous facilities. Q) Our pool has an electric dosing system which always seems at fault. Should we just abandon it? Are these systems notoriously difficult and full of problems? A) I assume you mean an automatic controller, which if maintained properly should not be a problem. Seek out a competent pool engineer to maintain and/or replace your faulty controller. Faulty operation of these critical pieces of equipment can cause serious repercussions. Q) What is an L8 Compliant water system risk assessment and do I need to do anything in my role as pool manager? A) Simply it is a risk assessment well documented in the Legionella control under COSHH Regulations. As a manager, either you or a designated competent person(s) is responsible for enforcing the guidelines in L8 – this may be an internal staff member or contractor who is experienced and suitably trained for the task.

… there seems to be a marked increase in the number of reported microbiological outbreaks originating from pools. But, is this simply a coincidence or could the root cause of these outbreaks be due to budgetary cuts in pool maintenance and a lack of training?” Q) What is a ph and disinfectant Traffic Light system? A) It is based on recognition of the parameters recommended and applied to water based testing systems – normally for free chlorine, combined chlorine and ph. The three conditions are Green, Amber and Red and the test results will fall into one of these ranges. Once the reading is identified then a set of procedures and reaction logs guide the operator to the correct action. For example a reading in the red zone would demand closure of the facility tested. This would be recorded and remedial action taken. A retest would be carried out until results are returned to the Green Zone. An amber reading would demand remedial action without closure. Because we can only share a few of the questions here, we strongly advise you to look back over the recent issues of SPN to read our articles on cryptosporidium prevention, Legionella control and PPO measures. A full archive of back issues is available to access free of charge online via the SPN website. For further information or to find out more about PPO training contact STA. STA 01922 645097 www.sta.co.uk

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SPN (Swimming Pool News) December 2016